Texas LEO fatally struck while running radar on highway

The officer was hit while running radar on a highway Friday morning

Duty Death: Officer Albert “A.J.” Castaneda - [Grand Prairie, Texas]

End of Service: 06/08/2019


Jack Howland, James Hartley, and Domingo Ramirez Jr.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas — A Grand Prairie, Texas police officer who was standing outside of his vehicle running radar was hit and killed by a car Friday morning, according to police.

Grand Prairie Officer Albert “A.J.” Castaneda, 38, died shortly before 11 a.m. at an Arlington hospital.

Castaneda was standing near his vehicle on the inside shoulder of President George Bush Turnpike when the driver of a Nissan 300ZX lost control of the car and hit the Grand Prairie Police Department Tahoe, police said. The officer was thrown from the elevated highway to the ground below, police said.

Troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety are investigating the accident, and no charges have been filed against the driver at this time, Grand Prairie police said.

The driver of the Nissan was not injured, and no one else was in the car.

Grand Prairie Police Chief Steve Dye tweeted at 2:25 p.m. about Castaneda’s death. “It is with deep sadness that I announce we have lost one of our @GrandPrairiePD Officers this morning. Our department is hurting... our community is hurting... our city is hurting. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we move forward,” he said in the tweet.

At a news conference Friday afternoon, Dye noted that Castaneda had volunteered to work Friday on his day off.

The accident occurred around 10:30 a.m. on Friday on PGBT near Dickey Road, police said. The officer was taken to Medical City Arlington hospital.

“We are deeply saddened about losing one of our own,” the Grand Prairie Police Department tweeted. “Our hearts are heavy. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we grieve this unbelievable loss.”

This is the first death of an on-duty officer in Grand Prairie since 2004, according to the department.

Castaneda was a five-year veteran of the Grand Prairie police force who was assigned to the patrol division’s field operations bureau.

He was featured by local news agencies in September when he saved a child who was choking at the Mid-Autumn Festival at Asia Times Square.

“He grew up in this community,” Dye said. “Every Thursday he bought pizza and took it to the children in the neighborhood he grew up in.”

He worked for six years with the Tarrant County Sheriff’s Office and served as a member of the United States Coast Guard from 2000 to 2008.

He was a father of two children.

He was “a friend, a trusted colleague, and an outstanding officer whose passion was providing service to the public,” according to a news release from Grand Prairie police.

The northbound lanes of PGBT near Dickey Road were closed after the accident and reopened shortly before 5 p.m., according to DPS.

Traffic was being directed to a service road.

An off-duty Arlington officer saw the accident and stopped to call it in, police said.

Arlington police were assisting Grand Prairie police at the hospital, according to Arlington officer Christopher Cook, a police spokesman.

———

©2019 the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

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