A Dallas police officer was killed in a crash while he was escorting a funeral procession for a fellow officer, and authorities say they believe the driver who caused the crash was drunk.
Officer Earl “Jamie” Givens was on a motorcycle blocking roads for a funeral procession early Saturday morning when he was struck by another driver in an SUV, CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reported. Givens was a 32-year veteran of the department, the report noted.
The person who struck Officer Givens was arrested for driving drunk after failing a field sobriety test, police said.
“Senior Cpl. Givens was a 32-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department. He served in the motor unit since 2012. We are just asking you to keep the Givens family in your prayers. Keep the Dallas Police Department in your prayers. Keep the city of Dallas in your prayers,” said Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall.
Givens was escorting the funeral of fellow police officer Tyrone Andrews at the time of his death. Andrews’ body was being transported to a location in East Texas early on Saturday morning.
As the Dallas Morning News reported, friends remembered Givens as a generous man who often contributed to local charitable causes. One of those causes, the Assist the Officer Foundation, is taking donations in Givens’ name to be distributed to his two adult sons.
“He was a great guy with a great, big heart,” Fred Frazier, vice president of the Dallas Police Association, told the Dallas Morning News. “How tragic could this be? He’s escorting a fallen officer to make sure that he’s honored the way he would want to be honored, and he gets killed by a drunk driver.”
As the Dallas Morning News reported, police officers stationed on motorcycles to escort funeral processions or escort dignitaries are often vulnerable to traffic, especially if drivers are distracted. The report noted that another Dallas police officer, Victor Lozada, was killed while controlling traffic for the motorcade of then-Senator Hillary Clinton during a 2008 presidential campaign stop. Lozada lost control of his motorcycle while going around a curve, hitting a concrete structure by the roadside.
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There have been six other Dallas police officers killed in the line of duty in the last two years. Earlier this year, another officer, Rogelio Santander, was shot to death while confronting a suspected shoplifter outside of a Home Depot store.
The driver of the SUV had not yet been identified, but the Star-Telegram reported that he is a 25-year-old man.