08/29/09 Was A Bad Day


Super Moderator
Neb. sheriff's deputy killed in crash

Associated Press - August 29, 2009 5:55 PM ET

COLUMBUS, Neb. (AP) - A Platte County sheriff's deputy was killed when his patrol car collided with a semi in northeast Nebraska.

The Nebraska State Patrol says Christopher Johnson was en route to a crash on state Highway 91 about 11:15 a.m. Saturday when his vehicle collided with the oncoming semi, which was making a left turn.

Johnson, of Columbus, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the semi, 60-year-old Gene Schlake of Beatrice, was taken to a Columbus hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

The 34-year-old Johnson had worked for the Platte County sheriff's office since 2006.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Neb. sheriff's deputy killed in crash - Action 3 News - Omaha, Nebraska News, Weather, and Sports |


Administering the BS
Took me by surprise. The irony of it all, is he was on his way to respond to another accident.

Not a very old guy either, way too much in life ahead of him.



Super Moderator
Procession, 1,000 mourners honor deputy

By Jim Osborn josborn@columbustelegram.com
Thursday, Sep 03, 2009 - 02:38:56 pm CDT

COLUMBUS -- A 34-year-old sheriff?s deputy died ?doing what he loved, protecting people? while racing to the scene of an injury accident Saturday when his patrol car was struck by a semi on Highway 91 near Cornlea.

?Chris loved protecting people,?? said the Rev. Mark Wetzler during Wednesday?s funeral service for Platte County Sheriff?s Deputy Christopher Johnson at Agricultural Park.

?He knew the dangers and challenges of his job and he accepted them. The common threads of character and personality rang clear through the life and actions of Chris Johnson,?? Wetzler said.

About 1,000 mourners, including an estimated 350 law enforcement officers from dozens of agencies throughout the state, attended today?s nearly one-hour service.

A private burial is planned at a later date.

Johnson is the first Platte County deputy to die in the line of duty in more than 100 years. He is survived by his wife, Stephanie, and one son, Cole.

Johnson was responding to an injury accident at 11:15 a.m. Saturday and was eastbound on Highway 91 when his 2006 Chevy Impala patrol car was hit by a 2000 Freightliner semi-trailer truck.

The semi, driven by Gene Schlake, 60, of Beatrice was westbound on the highway and was making a left hand turn at the Cornlea intersection when the two vehicles collided.

Johnson was pronounced dead at the scene. Schlake was treated and released from Columbus Community Hospital on Saturday.

Wednesday?s funeral service began with a procession starting at Gass-Haney Funeral Home and passing in front of the Platte County Courthouse and the sheriff?s office before heading for Ag Park.

The procession made up of dozens of law enforcement and private vehicles took just less than an hour to reach Ag Park, where they were greeted by waving American flags held by Freedom Riders flanking both sides of the entrance.

The procession passed below a giant American flag suspended over the entrance by two fire department aerial trucks. A formation of about 100 officers saluted the procession as it arrived at the funeral hall.

?Chris had a knack of being able to talk to and get along with people ... he was always there to help you carry your load,?? said Wetzler during his 20-minute eulogy. Wetzler is also a sheriff?s deputy who had served with Johnson since 2006.

Wetzler said his friend died doing what he loved.

?He did it with caution, clarity and certainty, and he paid the ultimate price,?? Wetzler said. ?Chris died doing life and doing what he loved. If he were here, he?d say, ?keep your chin up, keep living your life and living it to the fullest.???

Johnson?s son, Cole, and godson, nephew Nathaniel Crouch, both spoke briefly during the service.

The service drew to a close with a 21-gun salute by officers and the playing of ?Taps.? Officers formed up a tribute line down the hall?s center aisle and stood at attention while saluting a bagpipes-led procession of the casket and family members out of the building.
Procession, 1,000 mourners honor deputy - News - Local - The Columbus Telegram - Columbus, Nebraska's Community Newspaper