CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — A 25-year-old police officer died in a car wreck early Sunday while he was responding to an assault report, police said.
Matthew Thebeau was apparently trying to avoid a motorcycle that was going out of control when his patrol car struck the middle barrier of Crosstown Expressway, witnesses told police.
Police Chief Bryan Smith said Thebeau's car slid along the barrier for about 50 yards and then struck a light pole and a beam supporting a sign. The officer was ejected from the car and was struck by at least one car.
Thebeau was rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Smith said.
"As police officers, we know the risk and we live with the reality of life and death every day," Smith said in a story for Monday editions of the Corpus Christi Caller-Times. "But there is nothing that can prepare you for the feelings of shock and sorrow when a brother or sister in blue makes the ultimate sacrifice while serving the citizens of Corpus Christi."
Police said they didn't know if Thebeau was pursuing the motorcyclist. Investigators were talking to nine witnesses, but the motorcyclist had not been located, Smith said.
Thebeau, who had worked for the department for almost two years, is survived by his parents in Lavernia. His uncle, Martin Thebeau, is also a Corpus Christi police officer.
Domingo Ibarra, president of the Corpus Christi Police Officers Association, said Thebeau is the first local officer to die in the line of duty since Juan Ricon Prieto was struck and killed by a vehicle in 1993.
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