LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The police detective killed in a crash on U.S. 95 Friday morning has been identified as 45-year-old Detective Justin Terry, according to Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
Terry died when a steel beam fell on his unmarked police vehicle as he was driving in the southbound lanes of U.S. 95 near Centennial Parkway. The 21-year Metro veteran leaves behind a wife and two sons.
The crash was reported around 6:54 a.m. near the 215 interchange in the northwest valley. The crash happened in a Nevada Department of Transportation construction zone. The southbound lanes remained closed to traffic until late Friday afternoon so crews could repair damage caused by the crash.
Trooper Ashley Wellman with Nevada State Police said a tractor-trailer, carrying a piece of construction equipment, was traveling south on U.S. 95 when it hit a steel beam that was part of the construction site causing it to fall onto the car.
The front of the detective’s car was crushed.
The driver of the tractor-trailer is cooperating with officers, Wellman said. The truck was not part of the construction project.
Terry was assigned to the Homicide Sex Crime Bureau and Sexual Assault and Abuse Section and had been with Metro since 2001. Metro said he started a program making it possible for officers to use dirt bikes in hard-to-reach locations to serve the homeless. He was also assigned to the Sexual Offender Apprehension Detail and was widely regarded as an expert and worked directly with the U.S. Marshals Task Force.
“Today is a very sad and tragic day for the men and women of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department,” said Steve Grammas, LVPPA. “Not only is this loss felt by all first responders in Nevada, but the community at large has also lost one of its heroes.”
The beam is an early warning system to let drivers know the height of a bridge or overpass, said Justin Hopkins who is a public information officer with NDOT. He said they are put up whenever a new bridge or overpass is built.
“If a large load were to come through like it did today without anything to stop it, it could have taken down the entire bridge structure. You’re talking about tons of steel and concrete that would come down on cars potentially, he said.
At the request of Terry’s family, the Injured Police Officers Fund is the only approved donation point. You can find a link here.