La Paz County, AZ – La Paz County Sheriff’s Office (LPCSO) Sergeant Michael Rudd died in the line of duty on Monday when a commercial vehicle crashed into him as he was helping with a pursuit.
The series of events leading up to the sergeant’s death began when Quartzite police, LPCSO deputies, and Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers tried to stop a fleeing suspect as he sped down Interstate 10, The Arizona Republic reported.
Sgt. Rudd joined the chase and was outside his patrol vehicle near mile marker 37 at approximately 1 a.m. when an uninvolved commercial vehicle slammed into him, KNXV reported.
The sergeant was rushed to Palo Verde Hospital in Blythe, California, where he succumbed to his injuries, according to The Arizona Republic.
Officers used spike strips to disable the fleeing suspect involved in the pursuit and ultimately took him into custody near mile marker 45, KNXV reported.
The driver who hit Sgt. Rudd remained at the scene and has not been identified.
LPCSO Chief Deputy David Gray described Sgt. Rudd as a “cop’s cop,” who once ran into a burning motor home to rescue a woman, KNXV reported.
“He would always be the last one standing to help everyone else,” former 911 dispatcher Angelica Robledo told the news outlet. “If you had questions with anything, he would be the one to answer.”
Sgt. Rudd, a U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force veteran, joined the LPCSO in 2013, KNXV reported.
He was promoted to the rank of sergeant in March.
La Paz County Sheriff William Ponce said Sgt. Rudd’s tragic death has been “very difficult for us to deal with,” The Arizona Republic reported.
“We’re a very small county and a very small department, so everybody knows each other,” Sheriff Ponce said. “We’re like a family here.”
“You know, these men and women work together day in and day out, so they create these bonds,” he told KNXV. “The department right now is hurting. They are in a lot of pain.”
Sgt. Rudd always made it a point to go the extra mile for both his department and his community.
“He was very church-oriented and involved in the community – always trying to give back,” the sheriff told The Arizona Republic. “He was an exemplary employee and it is a great loss for this department.”
Sgt. Rudd and his longtime girlfriend were recently married.
The couple had six children.
A fundraising campaign established to help his family in the wake of their loss has raised over $19,000 so far.
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey ordered flags be lowered to half-staff in honor of Sgt. Rudd, The Arizona Republic reported.
“Arizona deeply mourns the loss of Sgt. Michael Rudd,” Ducey said in a statement. “For years, he protected the people of La Paz County and made Arizonans’ safety a top priority.”
It is with great sadness that we share the news of another fallen hero. La Paz County Sergeant Michael Rudd was struck by a commercial vehicle early this morning during a vehicle pursuit in western Arizona. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Ruiz family, as well as the LPCSO. pic.twitter.com/D1vg2rp9VR
— ScottsdalePD (@ScottsdalePD) October 11, 2021
We're deeply saddened to learn of the line of duty death of Sgt. Michael Rudd of the La Paz County Sheriff's Office early this morning. Our heartfelt condolences go out to his loved ones & colleagues; his service & sacrifice will never be forgotten. pic.twitter.com/CxHjyEUVxi
— Dept. of Public Safety (@Arizona_DPS) October 12, 2021
A tough day for Law Enforcement & everyone in #AZ, we are saddened by the news of yet another line of duty death. Our thoughts are with the La Paz County Sheriff's Office after the death of Sergeant Michael Rudd earlier today. #LPCSO #PeoriaPDAZ #Peoriapoliceaz #Peoriaaz pic.twitter.com/azDUBTgY68
— Peoria Police (AZ) (@PeoriaPoliceAZ) October 11, 2021
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of La Paz County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Michael Rudd, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.