NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — A police officer in Newport News, Virginia, died after a car drove away during a traffic stop and dragged her, police said.
Officer Katie Thyne and another officer responded to a drug complaint Thursday evening and conducted a stop on a car. After the officers asked the driver to step out of the car, the driver accelerated, dragging Thyne for about a block, Newport News Police Chief Steve Drew told reporters on Friday.
The car then crashed into a tree, leaving Thyne pinned between the car’s door and the tree, Drew said. The officer suffered multiple injuries and was taken to a local hospital, where she was pronounced dead, police said in a statement.
“She was a true hero and served this community,” Drew said. “She is and will always be a valued member of the department.”
Thyne, who was from New Hampshire, joined the department in 2018 after serving in the US Navy, Drew said.
She is survived by her 2-year old daughter, her mother, brother, stepfather and her partner, the police chief said.
“This is what she wanted to do. She wanted to be in law enforcement and she wanted to do it in this city,” said Drew, sobbing.
Outside the police department, Thyne helped to coach a children’s basketball team, the police chief added.
The driver, Vernon Evander Green, was arrested shortly after the crash. The 38-year-old has been charged with homicide, evade and elude law enforcement and drug possession, police said.
It’s unclear whether Green has an attorney, according to online court records.