LATROBE, Pa. (KDKA/AP) – Hundreds of police officers from as far away as Colorado, Utah and Texas participated in the funeral and procession for a Pennsylvania state trooper killed when his cruiser collided with a garbage truck last week.
Twenty-six-year-old Michael Stewart III was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash early Friday near Ligonier, about 50 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. The cause is still under investigation.
“He was a great guy,” Spencer White, a friend, said. “We could always joke around with him. He’d joke back with us, just a great sense of humor. Just always nice, he’d give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. Just a great guy. His parents should be really proud because they raised a really good guy.”
Bob Allen’s Report:
The Rev. Robert Byrnes, the chaplain of the Greensburg barracks where Stewart was stationed, spoke at Tuesday’s funeral in Latrobe. Byrnes says Stewart was good at his job “and truly dedicated to his oath of office.”
“We’re all state troopers no matter what uniform you put on. When one of us falls, we all fall so we came to pay our respects. We delivered a flag that flew over our capitol in Austin and delivered it to the family,” Texas State Trooper Joshua Snead said.
According to state police, the church was filled to capacity with 1,100 family members, friends and law enforcement officials.
A formal procession led to Unity Cemetery for a private interment service.
State police estimate about 350 vehicles were in the procession, and 120 of those vehicles were from other police departments.
Amy Wadas’s Report:
More than 1,200 officers from about 20 states stood at attention on Ligonier Street to pay their respects.
“It’s a great showing of support from those of us who were in law enforcement or are still in law enforcement,” former police officer Keff Graham said. “There’s a very tight-knit community there because the recognition is, even if you do everything right, even if you’re just on a routine patrol or routine call, something can go bad.”
Stewart’s state police career began in 2014. After graduating from the academy, he was assigned to Troop H in Chambersburg. A year later, he was transferred to the Greensburg barracks.
His family is suggesting that memorial contributions be sent to the Troopers Helping Troopers Foundation based in Harrisburg.
(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)