The Detroit police officer who died in a car crash on the city’s southwest side Tuesday was on the force for less than two years, but he already was a standout.
He pulled his partner to safety when he was shot in the head during a domestic violence call in April. In August, he responded to a call of a disturbance on the city’s west side and found kids playing basketball in the street with a volleyball. Weathers dropped to do push-ups, race and play with them.
“Sometimes,” Officer Darren Weathers told WDIV-TV, “some kids don’t have good male role models in their family. So, if I can reach out in any type of way, then I fell like I’ve won.”
After two weeks of incidents that caused death or injuries to his officers, a deadly car crash has forced the department to take measure of the danger of their jobs.
“Last two weeks ... starting with Officer Doss, DPD officer shot last night, DPS officer and now this ... it’s certainly a dark day. Our officers stay committed in this very difficult time for DPD,” Craig said. “I have the unfortunate duty to look in their eyes and keep them encouraged.”
On Tuesday, Weathers, 25, was on Michigan Avenue near Clark on the city’s southwest side for a training exercise, traveling in an unmarked police vehicle, according to authorities.
Craig said Weathers, affectionately called “Lucky,” was alone in the vehicle at about 11:35 a.m. when the accident occurred. It’s not clear what caused the crash, he said.
“During the accident, he was involved in a training exercise,” Craig said. “It’s too soon to know what the cause factor was in this.”
The other vehicle involved in the crash had two or three passengers who suffered only minor injuries. The collision pushed Weathers’ vehicle into a metal pylon, which caused significant damage, Craig said.
Weathers’ death came a day after three police officers were injured during a 14-hour standoff Monday and the death of Officer Glenn Doss Jr. on Jan. 24. Doss was shot after responding to a domestic violence call.
Weathers had shared a photo on his Facebook page of a Detroit police badge with a ribbon reading “Rest in Paradise Officer Doss.” Doss was 25.
Craig said Weathers was taken to Henry Ford Hospital after the crash.
“I am numb ...” Craig said. “As leadership, we have to serve our men and women and keep them uplifted. It’s a challenge … we appreciate the community’s support.”
Craig said he met with Weathers’ mother, father and an uncle, who also is a Detroit police officer.
He has a young daughter who was scheduled to travel from Georgia to meet with him this week.
Weathers was Officer Waldis Johnson’s partner and he pulled Johnson to safety after Johnson was shot in the head while responding to a domestic assault on April 30. Johnson suffered a traumatic brain injury.
“He was a phenomenal officer. Especially after the shooting of Officer Waldis Johnson, the way he responded with his training … He was awarded Purple Heart award and a Medal of Valor. He truly is a hero and one of Detroit’s finest,” Craig said.
Weathers attended Crockett Career and Technical Center.
“We are all devastated by the sudden loss of Officer Darren Weathers ... ,” Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said.
“In his short year and a half on the force, Officer Weathers displayed the kind of courage and humanity that exceeded his young age of 25. ... Our hearts go out to Officer Weathers’ family and to and his fellow officers at this very difficult time.”