07/30/2003

Police Officer Dies After Car Accident

Officer Down: Richard V. Lawn Jr. - [Gwynedd Township, Pennsylvania]

By Stephanie L. Arnold, The Philadelphia Inquirer

A Lower Gwynedd Township, Penn. police officer who colleagues said was always the first to assist in an emergency died early yesterday of complications from injuries he sustained in an auto accident on his way to a fire call last week.

Richard V. Lawn Jr., 41, was responding to a fire emergency at 2 a.m. Friday. Police said Lawn was driving on McKean Road when a deer struck the side of his patrol car. His car veered off the road and slammed into an electric pole.

Police said Lawn got out of the car on his own but died from post-operative complications at Central Montgomery Medical Center in Lansdale.

"This was a man who loved his family first and loved being a police officer second," said Lt. Gerry Gray, the department's interim chief. "He was the first one to respond to calls, to back up his fellow officers."

A 15-year veteran of the Police Department, Lawn graduated from Lansdale Catholic High School in 1981 and received a bachelor's degree in criminal justice from West Chester University. He was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, Montgomery County - Lodge 14.

Lawn was described by his department as a "leader in the community." They said that his life centered on his family - his wife, Laurie, and his children, Katelyn, Kelly, Connor and Megan - and that "the warmth of their home is a reflection of his and Laurie's effort and commitment."

Those closest to him said Lawn was an avid sports fan, especially of Pennsylvania State University football. He recently coached Nor-Gwyn Little League.
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