Officer struck, killed during stop on Rt. 1

January 29, 2009 8:45:05 PM PST
A police officer was killed after being struck by his own cruiser during a traffic stop in Middletown Township, Pa.Officer Chris Jones, 37, of the Middletown Township Police, died around 12:30 p.m.

The accident happened on Route 1 just south of the I-95 interchange.

Investigators say Jones was on traffic detail, and made a stop around 10:40 a.m. Thursday. He was walking back to his cruiser from a vehicle he had just pulled over.

That's when a car in the right lane swerved into the left lane as it approached Officer Jones' patrol vehicle and the stopped car. Two cars collided and plowed into Jones' cruiser.

Jones was then pinned under his own police car. He was taken to St. Mary Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.

"We were present when the children were brought in," said Lt. Patrick McGinty of the Middletown Township Police. "It was very tough."

Ignacio Gomez was driving one of the cars. He was hit from behind.

"The car that hit me from behind went around my right side and hit the police car," Gomez said.

Route 1 was shut down in the area of the crash, and is being treated as a potential crime scene.

Jones was a 10 year veteran of the force, and is the first officer from Middletown Township to die in the line of duty.

Jones leaves behind his wife, Suzanne, and three children ages 12, 13 and 16.

He was a 1989 graduate of Bensalem High School, and spent seven years in the Navy before joining the force. Jones was told just this week he was in line to be promoted to detective.

The chief of Middletown Township Police, Frank McKenna, is retiring on Friday, after 51 years on the job. He now leaves on a sad note, with fond memories of a dedicated officer.

"He's been commended for his compassion. Just an all-around great officer," McKenna said.

"This is the worst day in our history. Guaranteed," Lt. McGinty said.

The District Attorney is leading the investigation, and has not yet decided if there will be any charges filed in this crash.

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