Grapevine, Texas Officer Killed; Struck By Car
Officer Down: Darren Medlin - [Grapevine, Texas]
Police suspect driver who struck him on Highway 121 was drunk|
By Tanya Eiserer And Michael Grabell, The Dallas Morning News
Grapevine, Texas police Officer Darren Medlin lived for his family and his job: Getting drunken drivers off the streets.
Early Saturday, police say, such a driver may have killed him.
On the final two and half hours of the 34-year-old officer's overnight shift, he was hit by a vehicle on State Highway 121 near Mid-Cities Boulevard, just inside the Euless city limits. He was the first police officer killed in the line of duty since the Grapevine department was founded in 1956.
"It is quite a shock," said Grapevine Police Chief Dale Wilkins, who was out of town when he received news of Officer Medlin's death. "We've dealt with deaths of officers before, but not like this. There's not a lot you can say. We just have to get through it."
Roy Alvin Adams, 27, of Bedford, was taken into custody by Euless police and was being held on suspicion of intoxication manslaughter.
A man who answered the phone at Mr. Adams' home on Saturday said the family is not ready to talk. "We're not making any statement at this time," he said. "When the family's ready, we'll let you know."
Officer Medlin is survived by his wife of six years, Gina, two children and two stepchildren.
Grapevine police officers and members of the family's church in Trophy Club gathered with relatives Saturday at Officer Medlin's home in Roanoke.
His sister Kelli Andrews described him as a father who adored his daughters Sarah, 4, and Laura, 2.
"His children were his whole world, He would do anything for them," she said. "When Daddy walked into the room, they went running for him."
She added that the officer's wife and his parents were not ready to talk.
Officer Medlin graduated from North Garland High School in 1987 and joined the Marines, Ms. Andrews said. He served in Operation Desert Storm, working with computers and maintaining jets in Kuwait. But overseas, he realized he wanted to come home for an education, and a few years later, he earned a criminal justice degree from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi.
Throughout his life, though, he dreamed of becoming a police officer.
"He was the type of person that no other job would have fit him," Ms. Andrews said.
An officer broke the news to Officer Medlin's wife Saturday morning. Fellow officers filtered in throughout the day to show their respect for the family.
"They've been very supportive," Ms. Andrews said. "They're just taking care of all of our needs from the funeral to hotels to transportation to emotional support."
His death also shocked residents in his Roanoke neighborhood.
"Oh, my gosh, he was a very kind neighbor," said Pam Cooper. "Whenever I needed help, he was very kind in helping me with things in the yard. He was extremely friendly."
News of the 6-foot-2, 220-pound officer's death has dealt a heartbreaking blow to the tight-knit department, where he worked in the DWI Enforcement Unit, officials said.
"He was a highly respected officer, well-educated. He was quite a gentleman," said Chief Wilkins.
He expects to meet with Officer Medlin's family and with fellow officers.
"We're trying to make sure that his family is taken care of and trying to take care of our family here," said Sgt. Todd Dearing, a spokesman for the department of 94 officers.
According to Sgt. Dearing, Officer Medlin had taken one allegedly drunken motorist to jail and had continued with his regular patrols about 2:30 a.m. Saturday when he saw a motorist commit a traffic violation at State Highway 121 and Hall-Johnson Road in Grapevine.
He turned his patrol car around, and by the time he got the driver pulled over, the officer was inside the Euless city limits near the 2400 block of State Highway 121. Officer Medlin was outside his car when a southbound vehicle driven by Mr. Adams struck him, police said.
Euless police, who were conducting the investigation, declined to release further details.
Officer Medlin joined the department in May 2000 after working for four years as a game warden for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.
He served on the department's tactical team and had been a DWI enforcement officer since January 2002. He had four letters of commendation in his personnel file and no record of disciplinary actions, department officials said.
"He was a great guy," said Sgt. Dearing, who was his first patrol supervisor. "It was an honor to work with him. I never had any problems with him. He was one of those guys that if you asked him to do something, he just went and did it. He was a very safe officer, a very dependable officer. He was just an all-round good employee."
The family will have a memorial for Officer Medlin at 1 p.m. Monday at First Baptist Church of Grapevine, 301 E. Texas St. He will be buried at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, the family said.
There will be an open visitation all day Sunday at Lucas Funeral Home, 2000 W. College St. in Grapevine, said Wayne Oglesby, a longtime family friend.
"This young man was the cream of the crop, took pride in his work and loved his family beyond belief," he said. "He was an outstanding young man."
Other area officers also have been killed during traffic stops.
Dallas police Officer Patrick Metzler, 31, died in October 2002 after a drunken motorist struck his patrol car from behind on Central Expressway, causing the car to erupt in flames. Garland police Officer Ronnie Lerma was struck and killed by a motorist during a traffic stop in September 1998.