A 28-year-old Nashville police officer and new dad died after being "violently struck" in his cruiser by another car, which was being driven by a 17-year-old without a license.
Officer John Anderson died at the scene early Thursday. He had been with the Metro Nashville Police Department for four years and was a member of the Marine Corps Reserve. He had an 18-month-old son.
The incident began when another officer with the DUI Unit was driving down Gallatin Avenue and came across a Ford Fusion with its high beams on. The officer began driving behind the Ford and saw it commit a lane violation, the department said in a press release. The cop then turned on his lights, and the Ford pulled to the right and slowed down but did not stop. After the officer turned on his siren, the Ford sped away.
The DUI officer did not pursue the Ford but reported its license plate. He then saw the car turn left onto Interstate Drive.
That's when the Ford "violently struck" the driver's side of Anderson's cruise, the department said.
Anderson's car was pushed into a nearby utility pole, Tennessean.com reported.
Police said the 17-year-old driver was treated at a local hospital for minor injuries and then booked into a juvenile detention center. The teen was charged with vehicular homicide by recklessness, felony evading arrest, aggravated assault by recklessness, driving on a suspended license and juvenile curfew violation. A detention hearing is scheduled for Friday afternoon.
The department said Anderson graduated from the academy in 2015 and spent his career with the department's Central Precinct. He was remembered as a "proud member" of the Drill and Ceremony Team.
“His life was cut very short,” Central Precinct Commander Gordon Howey told reporters. “This is what he wanted to do. He loved every single minute of it.”
Anderson was also a bagpiper, the department said.
He loved hockey as well, Tennessean.com reported. A teammate of Anderson's on a local adult league remembered him as "quirky" and a "pretty good goaltender."
Another fellow hockey player told Tennessean.com that Anderson was "one of the nicest guys you’ll ever meet." He added that Anderson "was really proud of his son and looking forward to doing sports and building things with him."