EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – Edmond Police have identified the motorcycle officer killed in a crash along the Broadway Extension, along with the driver behind the wheel of the truck that hit him.
“This didn’t have to happen, and it’s a tragedy that it did,” said Mark Nelson, the president of the Fraternal Order of Police of Oklahoma. “Every single time an officer loses their life in the line of duty, there aren’t any words to describe it.”
Sergeant CJ Nelson, 38, was killed while on motorcycle patrol Tuesday afternoon. The Edmond Police Department said he is the first officer at the department to lose their life in the line of duty.
Around 3:00pm Tuesday, Nelson and three other cars were sitting at a red light, at Broadway and Comfort Drive, when a officials say a utility truck came barreling through at an unknown speed and slammed into Nelson’s motorcycle along with three other cars.
Oklahoma City Police said 53-year-old Jay Fite was behind the wheel.
The husband and father-of-two’s motorcycle was pinned between Fite’s white truck and another car. He was taken to OU Health where he later passed away.
“There was a car right behind the motorcycle and it appears that car took evasive action, and the motorcycle rider may have tried to do the same. That truck slammed right into all of them,” said Msgt. Gary Knight with the Oklahoma City Police Department.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Fite told officers “he was overworked and very tired, he continued to say he was going too fast and was not able to stop his vehicle before the collision.” The officer said “I could smell an odor of alcoholic beverage coming from his person in the back of the police car. I asked Jay Fite if he had been drinking and he said no.”
Oklahoma City Police said Fite had his blood drawn at the hospital to find out if he was under the influence during the crash.The results of the blood tests have not been released.
Wednesday, a line of police cruisers could be seen up and down the Kilpatrick Turnpike, while they escorted Sgt. Nelson’s body from the Medical Examiner, to LifeShare to harvest his organs, before taking him to a funeral home.
“A widow woke up this morning without her husband and children woke up without their dad. And that’s the reality of what every officer faces when they put that uniform on,” said Nelson.
Edmond Police said he leaves behind a wife, an 11-year-old daughter, and a seven-year-old son.
Outside the Edmond Police Station, a memorial has been growing, while across town at his favorite gym, there are memories of the person Nelson was out of uniform.
“He was just so fun to be around. His smile was very bright,” said Jenae Judge, owner of CrossFit 822.
Jenae Judge was his CrossFit coach for three years. She said Nelson helped others on and off duty.
“We have a rule here that the first to finish is the first to cheer, and he very much lived by that,” said Judge. “So, a lot of times he was doing a workout twice just to help everybody who needed to be helped. He was very generous, very giving.”
Judge said the Sgt. Nelson was also crafty and loved to make things with his hands. He showed his love by making work benches for the gym, as well as two climbing peg-boards. Nelson is the only one who’s ever made it to the top.
“On Saturday, I’m having a plaque made to put on there in honor and memory of CJ,” she said. “Everybody loved him.”
Judge said Nelson loved gymnastics and body weight exercises. This weekend, she’s hosting a special workout class in his honor and said several of his fellow officers will be there.
The CrossFit gym is also working to put together a fundraiser for him and his family.
St. Luke’s has set up a memorial fund for the family of Officer Nelson. If you would like to give, click the link and select “Nelson Memorial Fund” from the drop down. https://secure.accessacs.com/access/oglogin.aspx?sn=92755
Update 7/22 – The family of CJ Nelson released the following statement:
We are heartbroken over our tragic loss. CJ was a loving husband, devoted father, and dedicated police officer.
Our family has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of continued love and support from the Police Departments of Edmond and Oklahoma City, along with so many more statewide agencies; Coffee Creek Church, and St. Luke’s Church; the communities of Edmond and Deer Creek; as well and countless other local and national organizations. We ask that you continue to pray for our family and the members of the Edmond Police Department as we navigate this tragedy. We also ask that you please respect our privacy in the coming days.