Seattle, WA – King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) Deputy Reginald “Reggie” Thomas died in the line of duty on Monday morning, over a week after he suffered a stroke and crashed his patrol SUV into another vehicle.
The 56-year-old deputy was driving along Airport Way South when the medial emergency struck, according to The Seattle Times.
Deputy Thomas lost control of his patrol SUV and slammed into a parked vehicle, which then collided with two other cars, KING reported.
Attorney Sarah Leyrer, 41, was sitting in her parked vehicle when the patrol car crashed into her.
She died from her injuries at the scene, KING reported.
Deputy Thomas was extricated from his vehicle and rushed to Harborview Medical Center, according to The Seattle Times.
He was placed into a medically-induced coma as his condition worsened, fellow KCSO Deputy Brian Taylor told the paper.
Doctors soon determined that Deputy Thomas suffered massive brain damage due to a large blood clot, and that he would never be able to walk or speak again, Deputy Taylor said.
Last week, Deputy Thomas was moved into hospice care at his home, The Seattle Times reported.
“The hardest thing about taking care of him was seeing him in that condition. He’s always been such a strong, healthy guy so it’s shocking this happened to him,” Deputy Taylor said.
Deputy Taylor, retired KCSO Deputy Carlos Bratcher, and Deputy Thomas’ mother, Ruth Daniel, were by his side when he passed away at 3 a.m. on Sept. 7.
“It was very peaceful,” Deputy Taylor told The Seattle Times. “He took three deep breaths and passed away.”
Daniel received a condolence card from Leyrer’s husband, Mike Katell, after her son’s death, The Seattle Times reported.
“Obviously it’s very tragic for their family as it is for ours,” Katell told the paper. “We wanted to let his mother know we shared in this grief together.”
Deputy Thomas was a two-time All-American basketball player and served as a Korean linguist in the U.S. Army prior to joining the KCSO 30 years ago, The Seattle Times reported.
He planned to retire from the force in the spring of 2021.
Deputy Thomas was assigned to the cities of Maple Valley and Shoreline earlier in his career, the City of Woodinville said in a Facebook post on Tuesday.
He began serving the KCSO’s Metro Transit Police in 1999, and remained in that capacity for the next two decades.
In 2019, Deputy Thomas was selected as the Metro Transit Deputy of the Year, according to the City of Woodville.
“Our sincere thanks to Deputy Thomas for his commitment not only to our Department but to all of you as well,” the post read. “To his mother and friends, you are in our thoughts and prayers. Reggie you will be missed.”
Deputy Thomas never married and had no children, but was passionate about kids, his friends told The Seattle Times.
For the past two decades, he spent his Friday nights volunteering with the Teen Late Night Program at Sylvester Middle School.
He also spent the past 15 years working security at the Chateau St. Michelle winery’s outdoor events, the City of Woodville said.
Deputy Taylor said that Deputy Thomas was “always even-keeled” while on the job, according to The Seattle Times.
“Nobody could get him rattled,” he recalled. “He could calm any situation down so you loved seeing him show up” to the scene.
Retired Deputy Bratcher described Deputy Thomas as a caring man who had no problem demonstrating empathy, The Seattle Times reported.
“Some cops struggle with that but it was never a problem for him,” the retired deputy said. “Outside of work, he was a fun-loving guy. He was a very generous, true friend and a man who was honorable and humble at the same time.”
Thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends, and co-workers of @KingCoSheriff Deputy Reggie Thomas.
Thomas succumbed to injuries sustained in a violent crash while on duty that also claimed the life of Sarah Leyrer. Reported Deputy Thomas had a stroke prior to the crash. pic.twitter.com/SrWm4j9A8T
— South Sound News Photog (@SouthSoundNews) September 7, 2020
We regret to inform you of the loss of King County Sheriff's Office Deputy Reggie Thomas, on Monday, September 7, 2020.
— WAStateC.O.P.S. (@WAStateCOPS) September 9, 2020
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of King County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Reginald “Reggie” Thomas, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.