Thursday was a tragic day for Kosciusko County, after a Sheriff's deputy lost his life in a car crash.
Forty-year-old Sergeant Jeffrey Shaw of Warsaw, an 11 year veteran, died when his squad car collided with a flatbed truck.
It happened just before 3 p.m. Thursday on State Road 14, west of County Road 100 East.
That's about ten miles south of Warsaw, near Silver Lake.
Sergeant Chad Hill says, “They call this job a brotherhood and I lost a brother today. Every summer usually on the Fourth of July we have a party at his house with all the kids and wives. He went to Warsaw high and actually several officers he works with were actually classmates or graduated with him.”
Shaw was responding to a call when a truck drove off the side of the road.
Indiana State Police Sergeant Trent Smith says, “As he tried to correct, or come back on the road, it looked like he overcorrected and then basically drove right into the driver’s side door of the sergeant’s car and when the two vehicles collided then the truck flipped onto it’s side and caught fire a short time later.”
A witness who saw the crash was able to help get 53-year-old Steven Byerly of Fort Wayne, the driver of the truck, out safely. He suffered a minor head injury.
Police and firefighters had to extricate Sergeant Shaw out of his vehicle. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance but died shortly after arriving from blunt force trauma.
Sergeant Hill says Shaw was a laidback, likeable man in their eyes and the community.
Rhonda Baldwin says, “He treated you like a human being no matter what your status was even if he was looking for you if you were in trouble.”
Baldwin says Shaw even allowed her son, who was incarcerated, to get to a phone to call his wife years ago when she had just had their baby.
Hill says, “It doesn't surprise me at all.”
What impressed everyone most was his devotion to family and work.
Hill says, “He was notorious for not necessarily being here but trying to see his kids off the bus and still be available for calls. He just loved his kids dearly.”
Shaw started at the Kosciusko County Sheriff's department as a jail officer in 1994 and worked his way up to Sergeant. He's also a member of the fact team.
State Police say it looks like this was a freak accident and Shaw was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Neither drugs or alcohol are believed to be a factor in the crash.
He leaves behind a wife, a 9-year-old son, and a 7-year-old daughter.