SALEM, Ore. (KOIN 6) — A police officer with the Polk County Sheriff’s Office has been killed in a crash in Salem.
Sgt. Randy Whittaker, 48, was employed with the PCSO for 15 years.
A preliminary investigation showed Whittaker was driving in the right-hand lane headed east on Hwy 22 when a car passed him. Whittaker moved to the left lane, lost control and crashed into cement barriers along the side of the highway.
Marion County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement a dog ran from the car, but was later relocated and brought back to Whittaker’s family.
“Randy will leave a huge hole for our agency,” said PCSO spokesperson Bob Wolfe. “His quick wit, practical jokes were over shadowed by his professional duty, pride and integrity.” He said Whittaker’s death is a tragedy for the PCSO and the community.
Wolfe said Whittaker was respected and admired by his co-workers and the inmates he was responsible for.
The eastbound lanes of Hwy 22 near the Rosemount NW on-ramp were closed for several hours after the crash.