A Cleveland (Tenn.) Police Officer was killed in a cruiser wreck Sunday night after he crashed into a utility pole while on patrol.
Officer Justin Maples, 34, was killed just after 9:30 p.m. in a crash so forceful the cruiser battery was tossed to the other side of South Lee Highway upon impact, according to the local television station WRCB TV, broadcasting from Chattanooga. The television station posted a video of the scene shortly after the wreck.
Cleveland Public Information Officer Evie West said Maples teammates were the first on the scene and his best friend was among the people trying to extricate him from the badly damaged cruiser, according to the television station. After he was extricated, Maples was taken to Skyridge Medical Center where he was pronounced dead at 10:21 p.m. as fellow officers gathered at the facility. West told the television station a crisis incident response team was called in and prayed with the officer.
Maples, a 7-year veteran of the force and a member of the SWAT team was the first officer killed in the line of duty since 1955, according to WRCB.
A native of Cleveland, he was a husband and a father to three small children, all under age five, according to West. Maples father works for Cleveland Utilities and his mother works at Cleveland State Community College.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol is in charge of the investigation and the cause of the crash is not yet known.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page web site, funeral information can be obtained from Chief of Police Wes Snyder, Cleveland Police Department, 100 Church Street NE, PO Box 1519, Cleveland, TN 37311, or by calling (423) 476-1121.