HOMETOWN, Ill. (CBS) — A police officer in southwest suburban Hometown was killed early Saturday morning when a driver plowed into him as he investigated a traffic crash early Saturday morning.
As CBS 2’s Steven Graves reported, the was the first on-duty officer death for the Hometown Police Department in decades. CBS 2 has learned a man was in custody late Saturday, after trying to run from the scene where police tape was still up several hours later.READ MORE: Electrical Fire At O'Hare International Airport Closes Pedestrian Tunnel
Bunting hung and flowers lay outside the police department to remember a Hometown hero Saturday. Emotions were still fresh after a 34-year veteran officer was killed in the line of duty.
“I send my prayers to the family,” one woman said.
Hometown PD is mourning the death of a veteran officer after a driver hit him during a crash investigation.
— Steven Graves (@StevenGravesTV) April 4, 2021
The police lieutenant’s life ended after a driver plowed into him at 91st Street and Pulaski Road.
Hometown police say the officer was blocking the road around 3 a.m. Crews were cleaning up debris from an earlier crash.
Neighbors remember hearing a loud boom when a car hit the officer. Soon after the crash, police say the driver ran off.
“I was scared,” the woman said. “I was scared.”
Investigators put neighbors on alert as they searched and eventually caught the suspect, as medics took the injured officer to Advocate Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn, where he died.READ MORE: Family Escapes House Fire In Brighton Park
“It’s difficult to do,” said Hometown police Chief Louis Dominguez. “You’re trying to keep it together.”
Dominguez delivered the news to family who he says wants privacy. At their request, CBS 2 is not naming the officer.
The police chief did remember the 58-year-old as dedicated – working on the force part-time while keeping another job to provide for loved ones.
“He was very dedicated to the police department,” Dominguez said. “That would probably be the best way to describe him.”
A memorial procession to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office on Chicago’s Near West Side took place Saturday afternoon. Chicago Police – along with neighboring departments- helped escort the body.
Early this morning the Hometown Police Department lost one of their own. CPD escorted the body from Christ Hospital to the Medical Examiner’s Office. Our condolences to the entire Hometown police family. #CPDMediaCar.
📸 Tim Olk pic.twitter.com/DtUgDaNUeD
— Chicago Police (@Chicago_Police) April 3, 2021
Hometown police have not had an on-duty officer death since 1957 – making this final salute even harder.
“A lot of tears,” Dominguez said. “Yeah, a lot of tears from a lot of people.”
The tears came as a tight-knit community heals from a loss that will not soon be forgotten.MORE NEWS: Protesters Pack Logan Square Over Police Shooting Of Adam Toledo
Police have not told us the suspect’s name – but we do know he was also taken to the hospital. Illinois State Police and the Cook County Sheriff’s office have taken over the investigation.