Sheriff of St. Louis, Antonio Valentine, died in a collision Wednesday afternoon, Sheriff Kenneth Gregory said at a news conference.
Valentine and another officer were taken to hospital following the crash around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday in Crete and Chambers. Police of St. Louis said a civilian involved in the collision died after being taken to the hospital. The other officers involved in the crash were treated at a hospital and later released, Gregory said.
Valentine, 42, worked for the St. Louis since 2007. He was recently appointed to the Drug Enforcement Administration.
“What I’m asking of all of you right now is to grieve with us, to support us, to support the family for all they’re going through,” Sheriff Gregory said.
Valentine served in the Air Force before becoming an officer with the St. Louis.
“Today the community has lost a good soul and something that is both tragic and meaningless,” said Sam Durbin, a former colleague in Valentine’s Air Force. “He knew every day he wore that uniform something like that could happen and unfortunately today is that day.”
Preliminary investigations indicate that drug unit detectives were attempting to stop a black Volkswagen Jetta as its driver sped along Chambers Road, police said. Valentine and another detective responded to the area from the opposite direction of the suspect’s vehicle.
Police said the driver continued to speed when the vehicle collided with Valentine’s car at the intersection of Crete Drive and Chambers Road.
First responders attempted life-saving procedures on Valentine at the scene. The officer was later pronounced dead at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
One witness described the sounds he heard to News 4 after the crash.
“Similar to the fireworks on July 4th,” the witness said. “This was really noisy.”
BackStoppers announced on Twitter that they will be supporting Officer Valentine’s family. The organization provides financial support to the families of fallen first responders.
Backstoppers said Valentine had a baby in a statement.
“Our hearts are heavy as we face another tragedy in our community,” Chief Ron Battelle, BackStoppers CEO, said in the statement. “Police officer Antonio Valentine was a dedicated public servant and a brave officer. We will honor his legacy. My deepest condolences and prayers to Officer Valentine’s family. ”
Anyone who wants to donate to BackStoppers can find the information here.
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