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Hero Down: Edmond Police Sgt. Christopher James ‘C.J.’ Nelson Killed In 5-Vehicle Pileup

Edmond, OK – Edmond Police Department (EPD) Sergeant Christopher James “C.J.” Nelson died in the line of duty on Tuesday after a utility truck driver crashed into his patrol motorcycle and three other vehicles at an intersection.

The 38-year-old sergeant was waiting at a red light at Comfort Drive and Broadway with three other cars while out on patrol at approximately 3 p.m. when a speeding utility truck barreled through the intersection and slammed into them, KFOR reported.

Sgt. Nelson and his motorcycle were pinned between the truck and another vehicle during the collision.

“There was a car right behind the motorcycle and it appears that car took evasive action, and the motorcycle rider may have tried to do the same,” Oklahoma City Police Department (OCPD) Master Sergeant Gary Knight told KFOR. “That truck slammed right into all of them.”

Sgt. Nelson was rushed to OU Health in the wake of the crash and succumbed to his injuries a short while later.

The driver of the utility vehicle, identified as 53-year-old Jay Fite, allegedly smelled of “an alcoholic beverage,” but he denied drinking, according to court documents.

Fite claimed he “was overworked and very tired,” and that he “was going too fast and was not able to stop his vehicle” before the crash, police said.

Police obtained a blood sample from Fite at the hospital in order to determine whether or not he was intoxicated at the time of the deadly collision, KFOR reported.

He has since been charged with second-degree murder and manslaughter, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

“It is with profound sadness that we release the name of our fallen brother, Sergeant C.J. Nelson,” the EPD said in a press release on Wednesday morning. “Sergeant Nelson’s passing leaves a hole in the lives of those who loved him and in the community of Edmond that will never be filled.”

Sgt. Nelson was dedicated to his family and to serving the community he loved.

“The Edmond Police Department, the City of Edmond, and the Edmond community are indebted to C.J. Nelson and his family for their sacrifice,” the department said. “Please continue to lift up the Nelson family, the Edmond Police Department, and the Edmond community with prayers for comfort and healing. Rest easy brother, we’ll take it from here.”

Sgt. Nelson died just one day before his 13th anniversary with the EPD.

He is the first Edmond police officer to die in the line of duty, according to his department.

Prior to joining the EPD, he served two years with the Honolulu Police Department, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

“This didn’t have to happen, and it’s a tragedy that it did,” Fraternal Order of Police of Oklahoma President Mark Nelson told KFOR. “Every single time an officer loses their life in the line of duty, there aren’t any words to describe it.”

Sgt. Nelson leaves behind his wife, as well as his seven-year-old son and his 11-year-old daughter.

“A widow woke up this morning without her husband and children woke up without their dad,” Nelson told KFOR. “And that’s the reality of what every officer faces when they put that uniform on.”

Sgt. Nelson will be laid to rest on July 25, according to his obituary.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Edmond Police Department Sergeant Christopher James “C.J.” Nelson, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.

Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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