Louisiana auxiliary deputy, 82, killed working at crash site

SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — An 82-year-old auxiliary sheriff’s deputy died Friday in Louisiana when his parked patrol vehicle was struck from behind by a car as the deputy diverted traffic on a stretch of an interstate where two trucks had crashed earlier, authorities and local reports said.

Caddo Parish auxiliary deputy Lonnie Thacker Sr., 82, was at the site on Interstate 49 diverting traffic from the scene of the Friday morning crash that had closed a stretch of that route for several hours, KTBS-TV reported.

The northbound inside lane had just re-opened shortly before noon. Thacker was seated in his patrol unit when a woman driving a Kia Sorento struck the rear of his patrol vehicle, parish sheriff’s spokeswoman Cindy Chadwick told the TV station.

Chadwick said the woman, whose name wasn’t immediately released, suffered minor injuries. A coroner’s statement identified Thacker as the auxiliary deputy killed and said an autopsy was ordered.

The interstate later fully reopened around 3:30 p.m. Friday, reports said.

The sheriff’s office said that in 2001 Thacker joined its auxiliary program in which trained volunteers assist the department without pay, according to KTBS. The report said Thacker regularly logged over 500 volunteer hours a year helping with such duties as traffic control, funeral escorts and neighborhood patrols.

The deputy was the second northwest Louisiana law enforcement officer to die on the job within the past two weeks. Webster Parish sheriff’s Sgt. Billy Collins Jr. died July 9 when he was shot while responding to a call at his part-time job as a police officer in the community of Doyline.

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