LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- An MSD employee has been charged with murder and DUI after an LMPD officer was killed in a fiery crash on I-64 in downtown Louisville on Christmas Eve.
MetroSafe confirmed to WDRB that the accident happened after 2 p.m. Monday under the Belvedere, near Third Street, in the eastbound lanes of I-64.
LMPD Police Chief Steve Conrad said second division Detective Deidre Mengedoht, 32, had her emergency lights on as she conducted a traffic stop on a pickup truck with four people inside in the right lane of I-64 East. That's when an MSD driver, identified as 60-year-old Roger Burdette, crashed into her cruiser, pushing it into another vehicle. The cruiser went up in flames with Mengedoht trapped inside. No one else was severely injured in the crash.
Chief Conrad said the damage to Mengedoht's cruiser was "catastrophic."
Burdette was arrested and charged with murder of a police officer and DUI in connection with the crash.
Mengedoht, known by her friends and co-workers as DeeDee, leaves behind a young son, and had been with the force for more than seven years, according to Chief Conrad.
"DeeDee, as she was known to her friends and colleagues, gave her life serving the community, which is something she loved to do," Chief Conrad said.
MSD released a statement saying they are cooperating with LMPD, and that "This is a tragic accident and our condolences go out to Detective Deidre Mengedoht's family, her fellow officers and the community."
WDRB's Joel Schipper was at the scene of the crash, and saw officers giving a field sobriety test to Burdett after the crash. He was booked into Metro Corrections still wearing his MSD shirt.
The Louisville Metro Police Foundation posted a message on its Facebook page saying "We are heartbroken over the loss of our LMPD Officer who was killed on I-64 today. Please keep the family both blood and blue in your prayers."
Several local officials shared their condolences on Twitter to friends and families of the officer, including Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin.
Heartbreaking news unfolding on this Christmas Eve involving a police officer who was assisting a stranded motorist...PLEASE be careful on the roads this holiday season as you travel across Kentucky...We want everyone to make it safely home including those who protect and serve— Governor Matt Bevin (@GovMattBevin) December 24, 2018
Louisville Metro Council President David James shared his condolences on Twitter, and released an additional statement saying, in part, "This officer went to work today to once again patrol our streets and died doing an officer's sworn duty, protecting our great city ... Instances such as this should remind us all of the dangers our officers face in the line of duty."
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer also released a statement Monday night:
"My heart is breaking today as we mourn the tragic death of Louisville Metro Police Detective Deidre Mengedoht. When Deidre joined LMPD, she committed herself to service on behalf of our city, and her death is a painful reminder of the sacrifices that our public safety professionals make every day ... "At a time when so many of us are gathered with family in celebration of the holidays, this is a terribly sad day for our entire community. I urge my fellow citizens to join me in praying for Deidre’s family, and her LMPD brothers and sisters."
My heart is breaking today as we mourn the tragic death of @LMPD Detective Deidre Mengedoht. When Deidre joined LMPD, she committed herself to service on behalf of our city, and her death is a painful reminder of the sacrifices that our public safety professionals make every day.— Mayor Greg Fischer (@louisvillemayor) December 25, 2018
I-64 reopened about 11 p.m., after being closed nearly nine hours
A police escort of the ambulance carrying the Mengehodt left the scene of the crash just after 7 p.m., according to WDRB's Joel Schipper.
"My heart goes out to her mother, her father, her young son, and to her family and friends and her colleagues on this department," Chief Conrad said.
Burdette is expected to appear in arraignment court Wednesday morning.
LMPD's Public Integrity Unit and Traffic Division are investigating the crash.
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available.
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