PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — “I’m still in a state of shock. I still am expecting to see him walk through the door,” says Allegheny County Lieutenant John Tadler.
Keith Jones, a Bethel Park police officer explains the loss of a brother in blue to his three boys…a pair of flower-filled, well worn boots…the black be-ribboned motorcycle…a swat command vehicle swagged in sorrow… Flags at half staff.
On Saturday, 44-year-old Allegheny County police Sgt. Perry Vahaly of Clairton was off duty riding his personal motorcycle on Route 51 in Rostraver when a deer ran into his path.
A passing driver saw him lying in the road.
“When I answered the phone, you could hear the fear in her voice,” Lieutenant Tadler says.
On Saturday night, Amy Vahaly called Officer Judd Ekis asking him to meet her at Allegheny Hospital only to learn that his friend had died.
“And when I go to the hospital and heard the news it’s hard to believe,” Officer Ekis says. “It still hasn’t hit me that I’ll never see him again on this earth.”
“He was fearless – utterly fearless,” Ekis says.
Those who knew him describe Perry Vahaly as a “cops-cop.”
Vahaly, a 17-year County police veteran, worked as an Officer in Belle Vernon and on the Fayette drug task force.
As natural leader, the sergeant softened the edges with a fine sense of humor and is best understood through the men he mentored.
“You felt safe with him. You knew he had your back through anything,” Lieutenant Michael O’Keefe. “He knew how to teach people too and that was probably his greatest gift to us in the County police.”
Sgt. Perry Vahaly and his wife Amy, have six-children. Their children range from just one-year-old and to teenagers.
There is no replacing a man who was so much bigger than life. His family will never want for someone to lean on.
“Well, we’re going to be there for them,” O’Keefe says.