Former Berkeley County Sheriff's deputy dies in police pursuit

February 19, 2012|By JULIE E. GREENE |
  • Sgt. Michael Todd May
Submitted photo

MOUNT MORRIS, Pa. — A former Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department deputy was killed Saturday after his marked Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department sport utility vehicle was struck by a suspect’s vehicle during a police pursuit that started in West Virginia and ended in Pennsylvania, according to Pennsylvania and West Virginia authorities.

Sgt. Michael Todd May, 41, was taken to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va., where he was pronounced dead, according to a Pennsylvania State Police news release.

May worked for the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department in West Virginia for 10 1/2 years, said Lt. Perry Palmer of the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department.

Before that, he worked for the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department for about six months and before that, he was a corrections officer in Berkeley County, Palmer said.

“He was very passionate about being a police officer,” Berkeley County Sheriff Kenneth Lemaster said Sunday.

Lemaster described May as quiet and hardworking.

May’s duties with the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Department included serving civil summonses, Lemaster said. At the time, May was not yet certified, but had applied to attend the West Virginia State Police Academy for certification, Lemaster said.

“He was a good guy. I’ve got quite a few officers who were friends with him,” Lemaster said.

May was a corrections officer at Eastern Regional Jail before becoming a deputy, Lemaster said.

May wanted to get back to his home county, Monongalia, Lemaster said.

He is survived by his parents and a brother, Pennsylvania State Police said.

Palmer, too, said May was a hard worker.

“He was our go-to guy when we had an outstanding warrant or something that needed to be done,” Palmer said.

May served as a supervisor on the midnight shift, though he was not the supervisor the night of the accident, Palmer said.

“The guys looked up to him,” Palmer said.

Jerod Alan Green, 35, of 113 Alderman Drive in Morgantown, was charged with homicide by vehicle/DUI-related, Pennsylvania State Police said.

The vehicle pursuit into Pennsylvania began with a hit-and-run accident at about 12:50 a.m. Saturday along Easton Hill Road northeast of Morgantown, Pennsylvania State Police said. The West Virginia State Police were investigating the accident in which a truck hit another vehicle, Pennsylvania State Police said.

At about 1:09 a.m. Saturday, Granville (W.Va.) Police found the suspect’s vehicle on W.Va. 100 and initiated a traffic stop in which deputies from the Monongalia County Sheriff’s Department arrived to assist, Pennsylvania State Police said. W.Va. 100 runs northwest from Morgantown to Interstate 79.

State police said the driver refused to exit the vehicle and accelerated, leading to a vehicle pursuit.

The pursued vehicle went into Pennsylvania on U.S. 19 and turned east and then onto southbound Interstate 79, where police continued to pursue the suspect’s pickup truck, Pennsylvania State Police said.

May had been heading north on I-79 in a marked Jeep Cherokee when he crossed the grassy median into the southbound lanes to assist in the pursuit and was struck by the suspect’s pickup truck just after he crossed the median, Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Sam Spino said Sunday.

Spino, who works out of the Waynesburg barrack, did not know what speeds the pursuit reached, but said that information would be part of the investigation.

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