Officer killed after being hit by car in west Phoenix

Mar 21, 2019, 9:38 AM | Updated: Mar 22, 2019, 6:34 am
(Rutherford Family Photo)...
(Rutherford Family Photo)
(Rutherford Family Photo)

PHOENIX — A Phoenix Police Department officer was killed after being struck by a vehicle in west Phoenix on Thursday.

Officer Paul Rutherford, 51, was responding to a separate collision on foot and was hit by a Ford Expedition while crossing Indian School Road, according to Sgt. Tommy Thompson.

Rutherford died at a nearby hospital, where he was taken in extremely critical condition.

The driver, a 40-year-old female, stayed on the scene of the crash. It was determined she was not impaired.

“Our community has a reason to mourn because once again one of our officers was killed in the line of duty,” Police Chief Jeri Williams told reporters.

“This is just another example of the inherent dangers our officers face each and every day.”

Gov. Doug Ducey said in a tweet that his “deepest sympathies go out to the family and loved ones of Phoenix Police Officer Paul Rutherford.”

Ducey’s office said flags would be at half-staff from sunrise to sunset Friday, as well as on Rutherford’s internment date.

Rutherford was with the department for 23 years. He leaves behind a wife and two children.

“I was heartbroken on hearing the news of Officer Paul Rutherford’s passing,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said in a statement. “This loss, once again, reminds us of the dangers our first responders face on a daily basis to keep us safe.

“I offer my deepest sympathies to his family and loved ones as they mourn with the loss of their hero. The thoughts of everyone in Phoenix are with his wife, his two sons, the entire Rutherford family, and the Phoenix Police Department.”

It was the department’s 39th line of duty death.

The crash occurred near 75th Avenue and Indian School Road around 8:15 a.m.

Indian School Road was closed from 75th to 79th avenues.

Authorities are investigating.

The crash occurred shortly before another on-duty Phoenix officer was injured in a traffic accident with a vehicle near 16th Street and Missouri Avenue.

A Salt River PD officer was killed in January after being struck by a driver who told officers he was distracted.

Officer Clayton Townsend was conducting a traffic stop on Loop 101 near McDowell Road when 40-year-old Jerry Sanstead allegedly struck him.

Townsend was later pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

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Officer killed after being hit by car in west Phoenix