WINDOW ROCK- President Russell Begaye is calling upon the Navajo Nation for prayers of comfort for the family of fallen Salt River police officer Clayton Townsend who was killed in the line of duty last night.
The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) reported that at around 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 8, a passing vehicle hit Townsend as he attended to a vehicle that he had pulled over on Loop 101.
According to DPS, the driver who killed Townsend admitted that he was texting while driving.
“It’s heartbreaking to know that Officer Townsend lost his life due to the negligence of a driver who choose to text while driving,” President Begaye said. “As drivers, it’s our responsibility to clear all distractions as we drive on roads, highways and interstates. Imagine the sorrow of his family, who pray for his safe return daily, to know that this could have been avoided.”
Salt River Police Chief Karl Auerbach said during a Tuesday night briefing that Townsend was with the department for five years and leaves behind a wife and 10-month-old child.
In honor of Officer Townsend, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has ordered that all flags be flown at half-staff on Wednesday, Jan. 9.
“On behalf of the Navajo Nation, I send my sincerest condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Officer Townsend who put his life on the line daily to ensure the protection of our citizens,” President Begaye said. “I stand with public safety departments and elected officials across the nation in urging everyone not to text while driving.”