Temple, TX – Bell County Sheriff’s Department (BCSD) Deputy John Andrew Rhoden was killed in the line of duty early Sunday morning, after he was hit by a passing 18-wheeler while he was deploying tire-deflating devices to help stop a fleeing driver.
The incident occurred on Interstate 35 at approximately 1:45 a.m., BCSD Lieutenant Bob Reinhard said, according to the Associated Press.
Deputy Rhoden, 31, was preparing to deploy spike strips near Exit 294 to help officers stop a suspect in a stolen car they were pursuing, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
He was fatally struck by a tractor-trailer that was not involved in the chase, and died upon impact, KWTX reported.
It is unclear whether or not the suspect officers were pursuing has been apprehended.
The BCSD escorted Deputy Rhoden’s body to the Dallas County Medical Examiner’s Office, KWTX reported.
The Temple Police Department (TPD) is handling the ongoing investigation into the fatal crash, according to the Associated Press.
“Please be in prayer for the Rhoden family and us,” the BCSD said in a Facebook post on Sunday morning. “We are mourning the loss of one of our finest brothers in blue.”
Deputy Rhoden joined the BCSD in June of 2010, and was assigned to the Patrol Division midnight shift at the time of his death, KWTX reported.
He followed in the footsteps of his father, retired Belton Police Department Deputy Chief Michael Rhoden, who also spent two years working as a BCSD correctional officer.
The 100 Club of Texas has established a fundraising campaign to help Deputy Rhoden’s family in the wake of their loss.
He leaves behind his parents.
“John sill be missed by all who knew and served with him,” the 100 Club of Texas said.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Bell County Sheriff’s Department Deputy John Andrew Rhoden, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.