News

State trooper killed when patrol vehicle collides with garbage truck

Written by The Associated Press | Jul 14, 2017 1:52 PM
state_police_michael_stewart.jpg

State Trooper Michael Steward (Photo courtesy of the state police).

 

*This story has been updated with additional details*

(Ligonier) -- A marked patrol vehicle collided with a garbage truck in Westmoreland County early this morning, killing one state trooper and injuring a second.

The crash occurred at around 2:30 a.m. as Trooper Michael Stewart and his partner were traveling on Route 711, just outside Ligonier.

The other trooper  suffered a concussion, and the garbage truck driver wasn't hurt. 

Stewart, 26, enlisted in the state police in January 2014 and served with a Greensburg-based patrol unit. He had also been stationed in Chambersburg.

He is being described as a charismatic man with a big heart and personality. State Police Spokesman Stephen Limani described Stewart as a great trooper and "a big man with an even bigger heart.'' He says Stewart was "extremely fun to be around.''  

Limani says investigators are examining the two vehicles, working to reconstruct the collision and seeking any video from a nearby gas station.  He says it's too early in the investigation to assign fault for the crash.  
Stewart is the 98th member of the force to be killed in the line of duty.

"My thoughts, and the thoughts of the entire department, are with the family of Trooper Stewart during this difficult time," State Police Commissioner Tyree C. Blocker said. "Trooper Stewart served the commonwealth honorably, and we join all Pennsylvanians to mourn his passing."

Governor Tom Wolf expressed his condolences in a statement, saying Stewart had shown honor and integrity.

"This young trooper's tragic death is a reminder of the selfless sacrifice made each day by every state trooper and their families," Wolf said.

The governor has ordered the Commonwealth flag to be lowered to half-staff on the Capitol Complex, at Commonwealth facilities, and throughout the state in honor of fallen Stewart.

The state flag will remain lowered until sunset on the date of interment and the United States flag will remain at full-staff during this tribute.

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