By Sarah Hofius Hall
The Times-Tribune, Scranton, Pa.
WAYNE COUNTY, Pa. — Daniel "JJ" Lomax was always willing to help.
So when the off-duty police officer and volunteer firefighter came across a car crash in Wayne County early Saturday morning, he stopped to assist. When he left his vehicle, he came into contact with downed power lines.
(Great Bend Police Image)
Officer Lomax was electrocuted and died at the scene. He was 55.
As news of his death spread through the communities where he worked as a part-time officer, and the fire departments where he volunteered, family, friends and colleagues said Officer Lomax died like he lived — by helping others.
"He always put others first in his book," said Matthew Pritchyk, first assistant chief for the Scott Twp. Hose Company. "He was always looking out for others."
Officer Lomax, of Factoryville, served as deputy chief for the fire department, and also volunteered in Factoryville and for the Meredith Hose Company in Childs. He worked as a part-time police officer for departments in Mayfield, Forest City and Great Bend.
On Saturday at about 3:10 a.m., Officer Lomax came upon the scene of the accident on Sawmill Road in Salem Twp., about 1 1/2 miles west of Route 191. Details on the crash Officer Lomax stopped for were unavailable Saturday. The Wayne County coroner's office has ruled Officer Lomax's death accidental.
Officer Lomax came to Factoryville from the Philadelphia area as a teenager to join a foster family, his adoptive brother Steve Brower said. He became a genuine part of the family, as generous to them and others as they were to him.
"My brother is a provider," Mr. Brower said. "He gives to everybody."
After serving on area police departments for many years, Officer Lomax left Northeast Pennsylvania about a decade ago and worked as a police officer in Maryland, colleagues said. He returned to the area about two years ago.
"He was dependable. Everybody liked him. Everybody knew him," Forest City Chief Paul Lukus said. "He'd go out of his way to help you. If I needed him here in two hours, and regardless of what he had going on, he would be there."
Officer Lomax started working in Great Bend in May 2012 and quickly became active on the police force and in the community, Chief Jon Record said.
"He would give his shirt to anybody," Chief Record said. "He died doing what he loved, and that was helping people."
A photo of Officer Lomax and news of his death, posted on the police department's Facebook page, quickly got several hundred comments and shares on Saturday.
Mayfield Chief Joseph Perechinsky said Officer Lomax was the "most dedicated officer I've ever seen."
After working in Mayfield a decade ago, he came back to the department a year ago after returning from Maryland.
"I can't say anything negative about the guy," Chief Perechinsky said. "He will be deeply missed by my department."