Detroit, MI – A Detroit Police Department (DPD) officer was killed in the line of duty on Tuesday, when a vehicle crashed into his unmarked patrol car during a surveillance training exercise, Chief James Craig said.
“It’s with a heavy heart, we’re gathered here today to report to you the loss of another Detroit police officer, Darren Weathers, affectionately referred to as ‘Lucky,’” Chief Craig said during an afternoon press conference.
Officer Weathers, 25, had been with the DPD for approximately 18 months, and was assigned to the Integrity Unit, according to the chief.
The crash occurred at about 11:30 a.m., at the intersection of Michigan and Clark avenues.
“It’s too soon to know what the cause factors were involved in this,” Chief Craig said. “He was the only one in the vehicle.”
Two or three occupants in a second vehicle involved in the crash were uninjured, or had minor injuries, he said.
“I think from the collision, the force pushed our officer’s vehicle into a metal pylon,” Chief Craig explained. “Certainly, striking that metal pylon at any speed can cause significant damage.”
The impact cut one of the vehicles in half, WDIV reported.
“He was transported…to Henry Ford, where they did everything they could possibly do to save his life,” he said. “Unfortunately, he succumbed to his injuries.”
Officer Weathers was a military veteran who served in Afghanistan, WDIV reported.
As a member of the DPD Integrity Unit, he was tasked with investigating allegations of misconduct within the department, Chief Craig said.
Locals knew him as the officer who pulled over to join neighborhood youth in a basketball game.
“Sometimes kids don’t have good role models in their families,” Officer Weathers told WDIV in August of 2017. “If I can reach out in any type of way then I feel like I won.”
Officer Weathers, whose uncle is also a member of the DPD, was recently awarded the Medal of Valor, after he heroically saved the life of his partner, Officer Waldis “Jay” Johnson, in 2017, the chief said.
Officer Johnson was shot in the head on Apr. 30, 2017, when he and Officer Weathers arrived at the scene of a domestic violence incident, The Detroit News reported. The shooter, James Ray, was then fatally shot by Officer Weathers.
“It was Lucky, it was Darren, who responded appropriately, decisively, courageously…resulting in the fatal shooting of the suspect,” Chief Craig said. “He was then able to take his partner Waldis out of harm’s way, and we believe his courageous actions resulted in saving Waldis’ life.”
Officer Johnson continues to recover from his injuries, the chief said.
Officer Weathers leaves behind “a very young daughter,” who was traveling from Atlanta to Detroit to visit her father today, Chief Craig said.
“I can tell you today, I am numb,” Chief Craig admitted. “He was a phenomenal officer. He truly is a hero, and one of Detroit’s finest.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Detroit Officer Darren “Lucky” Weathers, both blood and blue. Godspeed, we will take the watch from here. Thank you for your service.
Officers Darren Weathers, your life mattered.