Moline Acres, MO – Moline Acres Police Department (MAPD) Sergeant Herschel Turner died in the line of duty on Saturday, after fellow officer trying to catch up to a reckless driver accidently crashed into him at the scene of a traffic stop.
The deadly collision occurred near Lance Avenue and Chambers Road at approximately 12:30 a.m., after Sgt. Turner responded to assist a Bellefontaine Neighbors Police Department (BNPD) officer who was out on a traffic stop, Moline Acres Police Chief Colonel Gregory Moore told KTVI.
As the 54-year-old sergeant was helping the officer, a second BNPD officer became involved in a pursuit with a stolen vehicle, Chief Moore explained.
As the chase continued up over a hill on Chambers Road, the driver of the stolen vehicle crashed into a MAPD car parked at the initial traffic stop, KTVI reported.
The BNPD officer swerved to avoid the collision, and ended up slamming directly into Sgt. Turner, who was standing nearby, according to Chief Moore.
“We can only tend to believe that Sgt. Turner felt that he was in a dangerous spot standing in the traffic lane after the collision, so we believe that he ran into the grassy area, which would have been the most likely thing to do for anybody,” Bellefontaine Neighbors Police Chief Jeremy Ihler told KSDK. “And he ran into the path of the police car at the same time.”
“There was no way of knowing that was going to happen,” Chief Ihler said.
Chief Moore said the pursuit and the vehicle involved in the initial traffic stop had nothing to do with one another, KTVI reported.
The suspects inside the stolen vehicle fled the scene after the crash, according to Chief Ihler.
Investigators also found a gun inside the car, he added.
Sgt. Turner suffered facial fractures and two broken legs when he was struck, Chief Moore said.
He was rushed to a local hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
Chief Ihler said the BNPD officer who crashed into him is “mentally broken,” KSDK reported.
He hadn’t recognized Sgt. Turner at the time of the crash due to the severity of the sergeant’s injuries, and didn’t realize until later that the person he hit was his friend.
“He was on the phone sobbing,” Chief Ihler told KSDK. “This was somebody he knew personally.”
The Missouri State Highway Patrol is handling the ongoing investigation into the incident.
Sgt. Turner devoted 22 years of his life to his law enforcement career, the last of five of which he spent serving the MAPD, KTVI reported.
“His unfortunate death occurred while serving our community,” Chief Moore told KDSK. “He was an outstanding asset to the city of Moline Acres and the community. He served the city proudly…Anyone who knew him knew that he would give you the shirt off his back. He was that type of guy.”
Sgt. Turner leaves behind his wife and three daughters.
The BackStoppers is now assisting the family of Sgt. Hershel Turner of the Moline Acres Police Department who succumbed to injuries sustained when he was apparently struck by another police vehicle during a traffic stop on December 5, 2020. pic.twitter.com/dhXfuIE7yP
— The BackStoppers Inc (@BackStoppers) December 6, 2020
RIP. Sergeant Herschel Turner was struck and killed while assisting in a traffic stop. #rip #hero #endofwatch #SergeantHerschelTurner #MolineAcresPoliceDepartment #lawenforcement #thinblueline #bluelivesmatter #backtheblue #becarefuloutthere pic.twitter.com/qf4r05NC62
— Protecting the Blue (@protectingblue) December 7, 2020
— Chicago's Finest👮🏻 (@ChicagoPD19) December 7, 2020
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Moline Acres Police Department Sergeant Herschel Turner, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.