N.M. motorcycle officer dies escorting President Bush
By Mark Silva
Another casualty of presidential travel has been suffered in Albuquerque, N.M., where police officer Germain Casey, 40, died after his motorcycle crashed Monday escorting a motorcade that was returning President Bush to the Albuquerque airport.
The accident was reminiscent of another fatality in Hawaii last fall, where a motorcycle-riding police officer was killed as he lost control of his bike while escorting Bush’s motorcade at rain-slickened Hickam Air Force Base.
The Secret Service maintains that the duty of local police escorts is to clear traffic for the presidential motorcade to maintain a “reasonable rate of speed’’ that enables the president to travel from place to place with less risk to his own safety.
But in truth, the motorcades that carry the president from place to place often move at breakneck speeds – and sometimes there are casualties.
As Bush’s motorcade returned to the airport in Albuquerque, where the president was raising money for Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.), officer Casey crashed his motorcycle into a tree at the entrance to the airport, according to a reporter traveling with Bush who saw the episode.
Bush, too, observed the crash scene. Later, as the president arrived at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport for another Republican congressman's fundraiser, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said: “The president did see the accident after it had occurred.
“A member of the White House medical staff went to assist,’’ Stanzel reported to the traveling press pool. “Also, the ambulance from the motorcade pulled off to help. The officer, Germain Casey, was taken to the University of New Mexico hospital.
“He leaves behind a wife, Lisa, and two teenage children,’’ Stanzel said. “The president called the deputy director of the Rio Rancho Police Department from Air Force One to express his heartfelt sympathies."
And in his motorcade from the later fundraiser to the Seattle airport, the president also called Lisa Casey, wife of the officer who died, to express his condolensces, according to Stanzel.
Casey had received special training in riding in motorcades and had previously escorted Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney on separate occasion, according to the Rio Rancho Police Department, where he had worked since 2005. He previously had served the campus police at the University of New Mexico, having moved there from Chicago.
The president also issued a statement about the officer who had died "while serving as a member of my security detail:.... I am deeply saddened by his death and extraordinarily grateful for his protection. It is a high calling to choose to serve and protect your fellow citizens, and I will always be indebted to Officer Casey’s service.
"He leaves behind his wife Lisa and their two children,'' Bush said. "They are in my thoughts and prayers. May God comfort the Casey family and his fellow law enforcement officials.''