A Missouri police department is mourning one of its detectives after he died following an on-duty crash.
“This has shaken our department,” St. Louis County police said when sharing the death of Detective Antonio Valentine. He had served with the department since 2007.
Valentine, 42, was one of two officers hospitalized following a head-on collision Wednesday, Dec. 1 with a suspect fleeing from drug unit detectives during an investigation, KTVI reported. Valentine died at the hospital, and the other officer was released following treatment.
Police say the suspect sped away when drug unit detectives tried to pull over the black Volkswagen Jetta he was driving, KMOV reported. Valentine and the other officer were responding when the suspect, traveling the opposite direction, collided with the police vehicle.
The driver of the Volkswagen Jetta, which had previously been reported stolen, also died from crash-related injuries, according to KSDK.
Photos KSDK captured on the scene show the Jetta and the unmarked police SUV with “extensive damage.”
Police are raising money for Valentine’s family through The BackStoppers nonprofit. Valentine was also a father.
“Our hearts are heavy as we face another tragedy in our community,” said Chief Ron Battelle, BackStoppers executive director. “Officer Antonio Valentine was a dedicated public servant and a brave officer. We will honor his legacy. My deepest condolences and prayers are with the family of Officer Valentine.”
The BackStoppers says it will immediately provide $10,000 to his family and then will meet with them to help provide for debt relief, health care, tuition and other expenses.