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Salt River police officer killed in Loop 101 crash

Posted at 8:32 PM, Jan 08, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-09 06:49:41-05

A Salt River Police Department officer was killed in a crash on the Loop 101 Tuesday.

According to Arizona Department of Public Safety, the officer stopped a vehicle on the Loop 101 around 6 p.m. While out standing with that vehicle, the officer was hit by a passing vehicle, which then hit the vehicle the officer had stopped.

DPS says the officer, later identified as Clayton Townsend, was taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead shortly after 6:30 p.m.

Further details about the circumstances surrounding the crash were not immediately available, though a DPS spokesperson said the driver who hit the officer was cooperating with detectives.

The crash and subsequent investigation blocked several lanes of the loop 101 northbound near McKellips Road.

In a briefing Tuesday night, Townsend was described by Salt River Police Chief Karl Auerbach as "one of the most dedicated, loyal, and committed officers" who left behind a wife and a 10-month-old child. He had been with the department for five years.

Tributes from other Arizona law enforcement agencies started shortly after news broke of the officer's death.

Stay with ABC15 and abc15.com for more information on this developing situation.