Ala. officer killed in crash with 18-wheeler
Officer was on his way to a call when his vehicle and a commercial tractor-trailer collided
Duty Death: David Lee Colley - [Montgomery, Alabama]
End of Service: 04/04/2015
By Rebecca Burylo
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Saturday marked a tragic day for Montgomery's men and women in blue after a fellow Montgomery police officer was killed before dawn on his way to a call. His vehicle and a commercial tractor-trailer collided near the intersection of Narrow Lane Road and E. South Boulevard.
"It's not a good morning for the MPD family," said Montgomery Police Chief Ernest Finley at the scene.
It is also not a good week for the city after three separate vehicle accidents in the city resulted in three fatalities in the last 10 days.
Officer David Colley's death marks the city's fourth traffic fatality in less than two weeks.
Colley, 24, of Eclectic, was killed at about 6 a.m. Friday after he was rushed to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries. He was an officer with the department for two years and leaves behind a wife and a 1-year-old child.
"We appreciate the support, sympathy and prayers for his family who has been notified and also for MPD family as well," Finley said.
"Our prayers go out to everyone involved."
According to MPD, Colley was on a call when the accident happened. He was transported to Baptist South Medical Center a short distance away where he was pronounced dead soon after. The truck's driver was not injured.
"It's heart-breaking to all of us, regardless of age, the loss of a life, of a young man with a young wife, it's horrible," Finley said. "The thing that we need to do is to build on the grieving process."
Several counseling sessions were scheduled at different departments throughout the city Saturday and into next week as officers continue to mourn the loss of one of their own. About a dozen Operation Good Shepherd clergy members, counselors and support groups, who work alongside MPD, were made available to officers.
Pastor Antonio Seales of Faith Missionary Baptist Church in Montgomery and an original member of Operation Good Shepherd was focused on helping officers through the grieving process with prayer and comfort.
"We're allowing them to grieve, because they need to grieve. It's especially hard on the young ones, the new officers. This is a lot more difficult for them, because it's new to them," Seales said. "This officer was responding to a robbery, he was just doing his job and he lost his life trying to help somebody."
Although some of the officers did not know Colley personally, many came forward with their grief simply because they wore the same uniform, Seales said.
"We're helping the officers and leadership is doing a good job helping them through this situation," Seales added. "It's a very, very tough time. Some did not know Colley or work in the same area, but it has affected them greatly ... It's hard to see officers grieve because they think they're supposed to be tough, but what I'm helping them with is expressing their grief."
That is the mission of Operation Good Shepard, a police initiative that began more than a year ago to bring ministers of all faiths out to help those at crime scenes and inner-department tragedies.
Counselors will be made available for each shift at the various departments.
Finley expressed his support of the clergy and grief counselors being made available to his officers.
"It's not only for the officers, but for the family as well ... It's going to be a very rough next couple of days, but I think it's important with the support and ground work we have with the clergies counselors to help us move past this," Finley said. "More importantly, is that we're going to be here for the family and I think that they really need us and that's what the MPD and the city of Montgomery is all about, just to give assistance to those who are needing, we are there for them."
Colley's family, parents, aunts, uncles and in-laws were said to have arrived at the hospital upon receiving the news of the accident.
MPD has requested that the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency conduct the investigation into the crash, according to State Trooper Sgt. Steve Jarrett, spokesman for ALEA.
"It's a sad day for the state of Alabama and the citizens of Montgomery and the law enforcement community as a whole ... it's sad anytime we lose a life, but it gets to us when we realize how easily it can happen and how dangerous the job is. Traffic crashes claim a lot of lives in Alabama and law enforcement officer lives as much as we're in the car, responding to calls, high speed driving; it's probably the number-one cause of law enforcement officer deaths in the nation," Jarrett said.
Jarrett said ALEA's homicide unit will be conducting the investigation. Once a report is made, it will be given it to the Montgomery County District Attorney and MPD for review. They will be looking for video footage from surrounding businesses around the intersection for help in the case.
The intersection and southbound lanes of E. South Boulevard were shut down for most of the day as Montgomery fire and towing crews cleared the area.
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