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Tributes pour in for Memphis police officer killed on I-40 over the weekend

Officer Darrell Adams is the third MPD officer to die in a traffic-related crash this year
Published: Oct. 3, 2021 at 4:43 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 4, 2021 at 4:52 AM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - People across the Mid-South are honoring and remembering a Memphis police officer killed in the line of duty.

MPD says Officer Darrell Adams was investigating a car crash along I-40 on Saturday when he was struck and killed by an 18-wheeler.

Adams’ death is a sad reminder of the dangers officers and other first responders face on the roadways.

Tributes are pouring in for Adams, including one by 12-year-old Zechariah Cartledge, who joined first responders in Olive Branch on Sunday and ran one mile in honor of Adams.

Cartledge started the Running 4 Heroes nonprofit in 2019 to pay tribute to injured officers across the country and happened to be in the Mid-South when he learned of Adams’ death.

“There are people all around this community supporting him and his family through this hard time. We just hope you all can heal through the passing of this true hero,” said Cartledge.

Cartledge said the Blue Line flag he was carrying during the run will be given to Adams’ family.

MPD says the 34-year-old Adams was investigating a two-vehicle crash along I-40 and North Watkins when he was struck by a semi-truck just after 11 a.m. on Saturday.

MPD said the driver of the semi was detained. No charges have been filed as of Sunday afternoon.

Memphis Police Chief C.J. Davis said her “heart aches again for the loss of another dedicated servant of our city.”

“It’s been a rough year for us all,” said Memphis Police Association President Essica Cage.

Adams is the third MPD officer to die in a traffic-related crash this year.

In March, 31-year-old officer Nicholas Blow died when his car was hit as he left work in March.

In May, 47-year-old motorcycle officer Scotty Triplett died during a police escort.

RELATED | Family files lawsuit against driver accused of killing on-duty MPD officer

For many officers, the most dangerous part of their job is what they encounter on the roadways.

National groups that track officer deaths say outside of COVID-19, traffic-related incidents pose the greatest threat to police officers.

The Officer Down Memorial Page, which added Adams to its online memorial, said 46 police officers across the U.S. have died in traffic-related crashes this year, compared to 45 killed by gunfire.

The National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) reports a “dramatic increase” in traffic-related deaths among officers over the last year.

“Struck-by crashes are certainly the most important thing we’re facing right now sheerly in terms of the statistics we’re experiencing here in 2021,” said Nick Breul, senior project manager for the National Law Enforcement Memorial and Museum in a recent webinar.

The Memphis Police Association is also raising money for Adams’ family.

They raised over $15,000 as of Monday morning.

CLICK HERE to donate.

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