FLORENCE, Ala. — A motorcycle collision with a sport utility vehicle claimed the life of a Florence police officer admired by fellow officers and many others in the city.
David Young, 46, a member of the department's Crash Reduction Unit, died Thursday morning at Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital's emergency room after his motorcycle collided with the SUV on a city street.
Lauderdale County Drug Task Force Director Myron Crunk, a former Florence police officer, said Young's fellow officers were in shock. Many of them kept a vigil at the emergency room.
Police Lt. Tim Wooten said he didn't know where to start when talking about Young.
"It would take us years to sit down and talk about David Young," Wooten told the TimesDaily for a story Friday.
He described Young as a person who enjoyed his job and was full of life. Young would "burst with pride" when someone asked him about how his wife and family were doing, Wooten said.
Young was recently ordained as a pastor and was going to preach in a rural Baptist church. He was also a baseball coach at Florence Christian Academy.
Young was one of the police department's chaplains and proudly showed Wooten the new chaplain's badge he received from Chief Rick Singleton.
"You never ran into David when he didn't have a smile on his face," said Lt. Ken Lester.
While he was not a motorcycle patrol officer for Florence, Lester said he rode a motorcycle when he was employed by the Sheffield Police Department.
"You can't be too safe," Lester said. "You have to be ever vigilant. Sometimes there's nothing you can do."
Officer Randy Lee said he saw Young on Thursday morning and, as usual, he was smiling.
"He said, 'What's going on Bounty Dog' and we shook hands," Lee said.
"The next thing I know ," Lee said, pausing for a moment. "It's a tragic thing. He's going to be missed."
Daniel Michael, pastor at Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church in Florence, said Young started pastoring at Grassy Baptist Church just before Christmas. The two have been friends for more than 10 years.
"It crushes you to stop and look at this. He was a young man with a bright future," Michael said. "This makes you realize just how short and precious life is."