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Florence Alabama Officer Killed in traffic collision.


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  • Florence Alabama Officer Killed in traffic collision.

    Longtime police officer David Young was doing what he had always wanted to do Thursday when his life abruptly ended in a crash in north Florence.
    Young was patrolling the streets on his motorcycle, performing what he always considered a crucial role for his community.
    Suddenly, authorities said, a vehicle pulled out in front of him as he reached the Wood Avenue-Button Avenue intersection, just north of the Seven Points area.
    The collision with the sport utility vehicle sent Young airborne in one direction and his crash helmet in another. Both vehicles burst into flames, sending thick, black smoke skyward.
    Young, despite being pulled by witnesses from the fiery crash, did not survive.
    Young, who co-workers affectionately called "Officer Smiley," was 46.
    "The only complaint I ever had about David was that he would smile when he was writing someone a ticket,'' said Florence Police Chief Rick Singleton, as he paused, fighting back tears during an afternoon news conference.
    "That's why they called him Officer Smiley. You never saw David when he wasn't smiling,'' said Daniel Michael, pastor of Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church and a longtime friend of Young's.
    Young began his 15th year with the police department in January.
    "This is one duty a police chief hopes he never has to do,'' Singleton said as he talked about the accident that claimed Young's life.
    A white ribbon was hung on the door at the police department Thursday afternoon. There was a noticeable silence as Singleton addressed reporters.
    "It's kind of a numb feeling,'' Lt. Randy England said. "This is just devastating. David Young was a good man; he's the finest Christian man I knew.''
    Several officers wept at the crash scene as they were told of Young's death. Others held their heads in their hands, and some seemed to be in a daze as they walked away from the debris of the crash in an apparent attempt to control their emotions.
    Several of Young's fellow officers gathered at Eliza Coffee Hospital afterward to support each other and Young's family.
    "(Law enforcement) is not just a fraternity, but a family,'' Singleton said. "This is tough on everyone. We have a fine group of men and women in this department who care about each other. That's evident by the scene at the-hospital.''
    Singleton said Young was assigned to the department's Crash Reduction Unit for seven or eight years. Officers in the unit commonly use motorcycles while on patrol.
    State troopers and agents with the Alabama Bureau of Investigation were called in to investigate the accident since a Florence police officer was involved.
    Three people in the SUV were taken to ECM Hospital for treatment, but their injuries were believed to be minor.
    The vehicle was driven by 62-year-old Linda Mackey, 121 Lee Ave., Florence. Witnesses said she appeared to be attempting to turn south onto Wood Avenue from Button Avenue when the accident happened.
    Young was driving north on Wood Avenue. His motorcycle appeared to crash into the vehicle near the driver's side door. It came to rest at the rear of the vehicle. Young's helmet came to rest more than 100 feet from the crash site.
    Rusty Anderson was working outside his grandparents' house on Button Avenue when he heard the accident.
    "I knew it was bad, and I just took off running down the hill,'' Anderson said.
    Andy Underwood, Joe Croom and Condre Cole were at A&A Automotive, which is about a block away.
    "I was in the office, Condre was working on a car under the canopy and Joe was in the last bay,'' said Underwood, who said he grabbed a fire extinguisher and ran to the scene to help.
    Croom said the motorcycle caught fire and he joined others in an effort to pull Young away from the fire.
    "He was right next to the motorcycle and his pants leg was on fire,'' Croom said.
    "We knew it was pretty bad when we pulled him away,'' Underwood added.
    Croom said both passengers in the SUV quickly got out, but Mackey was still sitting in the driver's seat when he and others arrived at the scene.
    "The lady was just sitting there and the back of the truck had caught on fire," Croom said. "We had to scream at her two or three times before she finally got out on the passenger side.''
    Anderson said the woman was in shock.
    "She got out and the next thing, it blew up," Anderson said. "It was crazy for a few minutes. It was just horrible.''
    Authorities blocked off the section of Wood Avenue, from Garfield Avenue to Holt Avenue, as members of the Alabama Department of Public Safety's Crash Reconstruction Team investigated the scene.
    Young is the fourth Florence police officer to die in the line of duty. Leo Glover, a former motorcycle officer, died May 23, 1974; Steve Ticer died May 13, 1988; and Doys Whitehead died June 20, 1991.
    "May is not a good month for us,'' Singleton said.
    Young is survived by a wife and two teenage children.
    "David Young was one of a kind,'' said Killen police investigator Terry Holden, who previously worked with Young at Florence. "You couldn't help but like him, and everyone who knew David is better off for it.''
    Last edited by proteknserve; 08-19-2007, 11:25 PM.

  • #2
    Officers travel to Florence for their ‘brother’

    FLORENCE – More than a 1,000 friends, family and colleagues paid their final respects today to Florence police officer David Young.
    The 46-year-old Young was memorialized at a 2 p.m. service at Highland Baptist Church.
    Young, a 14-year veteran of the department, was killed in a motorcycle crash Thursday while on duty. Young had been a member of the department’s motorcycle patrol unit for about eight years.
    “David was a special person who had a love for people and he loved riding his motorcycle,” said Florence Police Chief Rick Singleton. “His mother told me he got his first motorcycle when he was 11, and he’s been riding one ever since.”
    Young will be laid to rest this afternoon in Tri-Cities Memorial Gardens. A funeral procession of law enforcement personnel from the area and state led Young’s family and his body to his final resting place.
    Many of the hundreds of uniformed police officers at Highland never had the pleasure of knowing Young.
    Yet they traveled from throughout the state and even out of state to mourn alongside Young’s fellow officers, often referring to the fallen officer as their brother.
    “It’s hard to express the brotherhood of law enforcement officers in words,” Haleyville Police Chief Kyle Reogas said. “We are brothers.”
    “I just wanted to pay my respects for a man who gave the ultimate price,” Pelham police officer Mike Bellanca added.
    A quick scan of patrol cars found police departments and sheriff’s offices represented from Jefferson County, Athens, Madison County, Polk County, Fla., Phenix City and Hoover, to name a few.
    An officer from South Carolina and one from as far as San Diego attended Young’s funeral.
    “The brotherhood of police officers is tighter than most family units,” Scottsboro police officer Danny Pettus said.
    “My heart dropped to my stomach when I heard the news,” Pettus said. “I just sat there for 20 or 30 minutes. That’s all I could do.”
    Pettus worked for the Florence department in 1999. He had been on the same shift as Young, and, like so many others, remembers him as a good officer and person who seemed to have a perpetual smile.
    “He’d give you the shirt off his back,” Pettus said. “When I found out about his death, it was a given that I’d be here.”
    Last edited by proteknserve; 08-19-2007, 11:26 PM. Reason: photo links changed


    • #3
      Rest in peace


      • #4


        • #5
          'Tour of duty complete'

          FLORENCE -- Florence police Chief Rick Singleton made three calls to Officer 217 with no reply.

          Then, fighting back tears, Singleton said, "10-7, 217 tour of duty complete.''

          Those words officially concluded David Young's duty with the Florence Police Department. His number was 217.

          More than a thousand friends, family and colleagues paid their respects to Young, a 14-year veteran of the department, Monday afternoon during his funeral.

          With blue lights flashing, motorcycle officers from throughout the state led the funeral possession through Tri-Cities Memorial Gardens.

          As one body, law enforcement officers saluted and stood at attention as members of the Florence Police Department's Crash Reduction Unit, Young's squad, carried their fallen comrade to his final resting place.

          The 46-year-old Young was killed in the line of duty Thursday when his motorcycle collided with a vehicle at the intersection of North Wood Avenue and Button Avenue in North Florence.

          After a prayer, a member of the Alabama Department of Public Safety's Honor Guard played "Amazing Grace'' on the bagpipes while being accompanied by a drummer.

          Young was then honored with a 21-gun salute, while in the distance the sound of "Taps'' could be heard drifting across the cemetery.

          Moments later, a large flag, which had been draped over Young's casket, was folded and handed to Florence police Lt. Tony Barnett, the supervisor of Young's unit. Barnett then turned, knelt, and presented Young's widow, Donna, with the flag.

          "David Young was one of a kind. He was a very unique person,'' said Florence police Capt. Barry Brewer.

          Haleyville police Chief Kyle Reogas, who attended Monday's funeral service, said there is no substitute for officers like Young who are dedicated to the community.

          "This community suffered a loss, and one that can't be replaced,'' Reogas said.

          "David was a personal friend," added Danny Pettus, a Scottsboro officer and former Florence police officer. "You knew he was always there for you. That was just him."

          Young was memorialized during a service at Highland Baptist Church.

          "It's my sad duty to represent the state of Alabama on this occasion,'' said Alabama Attorney General Troy King. "But it's a privilege to be here, in the presence of a real hero.

          "And I believe that's what you're husband and dad was,'' King said to Young's family.

          He said Young left a legacy, and that legacy will be carried on. "He will be a beacon to our state,'' King said.

          "You talk about passionate people, David Young was a passionate person,'' said longtime friend Daniel Michael, pastor at Emmanuel Missionary Baptist Church, of Florence.

          "He had a passion about his job and the pulpit. David Young was passionate about life.''

          Young, an ordained minister, began pastoring his first church, Grassy Baptist, just before Christmas.

          Phillip Skipworth, pastor at Florence Baptist Church where Young had attended and served as youth minister, said his friend got great joy from preaching.

          "Earthly speaking, what happened last Thursday was an earthly tragedy, but spiritually, it was precious,'' Skipworth said. "As much as I'm going to miss my good friend, all believers are a little envious of him; that's why it's precious.

          "We can all be thankful for the life of David Young.''

          During the funeral service, Singleton described Young as a "special individual'' who had a "love for people.'' Also, the chief said Young loved to ride motorcycles.

          "His mother said he got his first one when he was 11 and had been riding ever since,'' Singleton said.

          The chief then read a poem dedicated to motorcycle officers. Excepts from the poem include:

          "It sounds like thunder far away, but the skies are blue and bright, and soon they crest the hill nearby, and ride into our sight …

          "They ride the roads, and fight for good, and defend small one like you. They ask to ride, and do with pride, and sometimes they are few …

          "Sometimes when one has fallen, never to ride again. You can hear the others calling, like thunder on the wind …

          "For motormen are a special breed, they love to ride the wind. And when you hear the thunder boom, the fallen ones ride again …''

          At the cemetery, only a few feet from Young's grave, there is the grave of Cory Guzowski, who was killed in a motorcycle accident in November 2004 that also occurred on North Wood Avenue.

          On the tombstone is a saying that reads, "Ride high, ride free, for God protects us now.''

          "That's so fitting for David to be buried near,'' Michael said.

          Last edited by proteknserve; 08-19-2007, 11:30 PM. Reason: photo links changed


          • #6

            Last edited by proteknserve; 08-19-2007, 11:32 PM. Reason: photo links changed


            • #7

              Last edited by proteknserve; 08-19-2007, 11:31 PM. Reason: photo links changed


              • #8
                Rest easy, sleep well brother
                "Think like a man of action, act like a man of thought" ~Henri Louis Bergson



                • #9
                  Those pic's are very moving, thanks for posting them.
                  RIP BROTHER, we have the watch now!
                  "Fast is fine, but accuracy is everything!"-Wyatt Earp

                  "You never know when crazy will show up!"-Irishdep


                  • #10
                    Very powerful pics, moved me to tears. My prayers are with the family and friends.
                    If you can't be honest with yourself who can you be honest with.


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