PHOENIX (FOX 10) - A Phoenix Police officer has died in the line of duty after being hit in a serious collision in Phoenix.
Sgt. Tommy Thompson says Officer Paul Rutherford, 51, was struck by a Ford SUV while investigating a separate collision. He was transported to the hospital in extremely critical condition where he was pronounced dead.
"I called 911 right away," said a man, identified only as "Christian". "I tried to keep him aware alive and he just died right there."
A witness at the scene said the original accident involved his brother. He said Officer Rutherford was talking with them and taking their statement in the moments before he was hit.
"She hit him so hard that there were people from the light down there that thought she hit another car," said Jaamy Ramsey.
As for the driver of the SUV, Phoenix Police officials say the 40-year-old woman was not impaired. She remained at the scene after the accident.
"Officer Paul Rutherford served our department almost 23 years," said Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams. "As you can imagine his wife and adult sons are devastated."
Chief Williams says Rutherford's death is the 39th for in the police department's history.
"This is just another example of inherent dangers our officers face every day, yet, they put that blue uniform on and go out and serve our community," said Chief Williams.
"If you come upon a collision, make sure you use extreme caution because we have first responders officer firefighters who are working in the area. We just need to make sure we give plenty of room for them," said Sgt. Thompson.
"I feel really sorry for that family that has to go through that," said Christian.
Meanwhile, Gov. Doug Ducey is ordering that flags at all state buildings be lowered to half-staff Friday from sunrise to sunset to honor Officer Rutherford.
Facebook donation page for Officer Paul Rutherford by the 100 Club of Arizona