Dallas officer dies in Clinton motorcade crash
|By Tanya Eiserer |
The Dallas Morning News
Officer Down: Senior Corporal Victor Lozada-Tirado
DALLAS — A Dallas police officer died Friday when his motorcycle struck a curb on the Houston Street viaduct as he was escorting Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to a rally in Oak Cliff.
"One of our motorcycle jockeys rounded the curb, hit the curb, and went down," said Lt. Vernon Hale, spokesman for the Dallas Police Department.
The officer's motorcycle was near the rear of the motorcade as it headed south on the viaduct when the accident happened about 9:20 a.m.
Police identified the officer as Senior Cpl. Victor Lozada-Tiada, 49, a 20-year veteran of the department.
"There are no routine jobs in this business," said Lt. Hale. "It is a dangerous job."
"He was just a very caring police officer who loved his job, loved the Dallas Police Department and tried to do the right thing."
Cpl. Lozada-Tiada was rushed to nearby Methodist Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. He had been with the department's traffic division for five years and was also well-known in the East Dallas community for his work at a storefront station on Hall Street.
WFAA-TV helicopter pilot Troy Bush, who flew over the scene shortly after the incident, estimated that the officer had been thrown about 20 yards by the impact.
The officer's Kawasaki 1000 Police Special motorcycle was among bits of scattered debris on the roadway, and a motorcycle helmet lay on the ground. About 10:30 a.m., a group of officers were examining the roughly 3-foot-high wall at the edge of the viaduct, measuring it and taking pictures.
Officers were also combing the area under the bridge where debris might have fallen, possibly looking for the motorcycle's wind screen. They later took two large plastic bags of debris from the scene.
After the rally, a somber Mrs. Clinton expressed sorrow over the officer's death.
"We are just heartsick over this loss of life in the line of duty," she said.
Mrs. Clinton said the accident should serve as a reminder of the sacrifices law enforcement officers make. She said it is important that people respect and appreciate their service.
After the Dallas rally, Mrs. Clinton's motorcade proceeded to downtown Fort Worth, where she told about 1,000 supporters about the accident, naming the officer, and then apologized, saying she could not conduct a rally.
Aides said they were suspending her plans and that she had spoken to Dallas police Chief David Kunkle to convey her sorrow over the officer's death. Her campaign staff said the senator plans to go to the hospital to meet with the officer's family.
Last year, a police officer was killed while escorting a motorcade for President George W. Bush in Albuquerque, N.M. There was a similar fatal crash involving a presidential motorcade in Hawaii in 2006.
The viaduct is expected to remain shut down for several hours.
Copyright 2008 The Dallas Morning News
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