LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – A Louisville police detective stopped to ask a man for directions for a late-night meal when both pedestrians were struck and killed by an alleged drunken driver in Lexington, Kentucky, authorities said.
Detective Jason Schweitzer was visiting Lexington for a Fraternal Order of Police conference. His death early Saturday was announced on the Louisville Metro Police Department’s Facebook page.
Schweitzer had asked the man to point him toward a restaurant near downtown when they were struck, Lexington authorities said. The other victim was Timothy Moore, 56, of Lexington, the coroner’s office in Lexington. Both died of multiple blunt force trauma, it said.
Moore worked for the University of Kentucky as a utility plant operator and died outside the building where he worked, a school spokesman said.
Lexington police said a woman arrested in the overnight tragedy faced manslaughter and drunken driving charges.
Investigators were trying to determine where Schweitzer and Moore were standing when they were struck, said Lexington police spokeswoman Brenna Angel. Schweitzer was accompanied by another police officer who stepped away from the victims before they were hit, she said.
The veteran lawman’s death spurred an outpouring of condolences from state and Louisville officials.
“Our community mourns the death of Det. Schweitzer, who served and protected our city and its citizens as an officer in the 6th Division,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said in a statement. “We send our deep condolences to his family and his fellow officers of LMPD.”
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin called Schweitzer’s death a “devastating loss,” noting on Facebook that he met the detective a few months ago. He said the detective’s “presence on the force and in his community will be greatly missed.”
Louisville Metro Councilman David James, a former FOP president, called Schweitzer’s death “a kick in the chest.”
Suzanne M. Whitlow, 26, of Lexington was charged with two counts of second-degree manslaughter and one count of driving under the influence, Lexington police said. The victims were struck around 2:30 a.m. EDT Saturday when Whitlow lost control of her vehicle, police said. Both pedestrians were taken to a hospital, where they died of their injuries.
Whitlow was injured in the crash and was taken to a hospital, Angel said. She did not know Whitlow’s condition or specifics about the injuries.
Lexington police declined to provide additional details about the crash, which occurred on South Upper Street near Bolivar Street in Lexington. The crash remains under investigation.
Schweitzer, 37, had been an officer in Jefferson County since 2001 and served as vice president of the River City FOP Lodge 614 since 2010, according to the Louisville police department’s Facebook page.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family, both blood and blue,” the department’s Facebook page said.
“Mr. Moore was one of the people that keep the place running day in and day out,” UK spokesman Jay Blanton said. “It is a tremendous loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time.”
Schweitzer was in Lexington for an FOP fall conference, James said.
He called Schweitzer a dedicated husband and father who loved his job.
“He took it personally if a house got broken into on his beat,” James said. “He took it personally if someone got assaulted on his beat. Because he looked at himself as the guardian of those people.”
Schweitzer’s relationship with the police union began at 15 working in the lodge’s kitchen, The Courier-Journal reported, citing his FOP bio.