NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Metro police officer was killed in a fiery crash while on-duty near downtown Nashville early Thursday morning.
The crash happened around 3:15 a.m. near Woodland Street and Interstate Drive.
Metro police identified the officer as four-year veteran of the force, 28-year-old John Anderson. He worked the overnight shift in downtown Nashville and was part of the force’s Drill and Ceremony team.
He joined the force on Nov. 1, 2014.
His patrol car was hit by a Ford Fusion driven by a 17-year-old girl, according to Metro police.
The 17-year-old driver sustained non-life threatening injuries in the crash. An 18-year-old passenger was taken to an area hospital with life-threatening injuries.
The front end of Officer Anderson’s cruiser was heavily damaged and smoke was seen pouring from the hood following the crash.
Around 3 a.m., a DUI officer saw the Ford Fusion coming toward him with its high beams on and turned on the cruiser’s flashing lights to attempt to stop the car.
That officer activated his siren near Fifth Avenue and Main Street but the Ford took off toward downtown Nashville, according to Metro police spokesperson Don Aaron.
The DUI officer checked the license plate to see if the Ford was stolen but it had not been reported as such.
No pursuit of the vehicle was ever initiated.
According to Aaron, Officer Anderson was driving outbound on Woodland Street to help another officer respond to a report of a pedestrian on Interstate 24.
It was then when his cruiser was hit “very, very hard” by the Ford Fusion on its driver’s side.
Officer Anderson’s cruiser was spun around in the intersection, where it came to rest against a utility pole and caught fire, according to Aaron.
Another officer came upon the scene shortly after the crash and called for assistance but Officer Anderson died at the scene.
Aaron specified Officer Anderson had a flashing yellow light at the intersection while the 17-year-old had a flashing red.
The teen driver was released from the hospital and is now charged with reckless endangerment, felony evading, driving on a suspended license and vehicular homicide.
“Our hearts are heavy. Officer Anderson was a very well-liked individual,” said Aaron.
Metro Police Chief Steve Anderson said he was no relation to Officer Anderson “by blood, but certainly by blue.”
“It’s a tragic day for Nashville, our police officers put so much on the on the line every single day to protect us. For this holiday to start on such a tragic note is just horrible,” said Mayor David Briley.
Briley released a statement on Officer Anderson’s death:
“Early this morning, Officer John Anderson tragically lost his life in the line of duty. Officer Anderson pledged his life to serve and protect us – a solemn duty that we can sometimes take for granted. His death today is a stark reminder of that pledge, and his service to our city will be forever remembered. Our officers are part of the fabric of this city, and I am eternally grateful for what they do every day, risking their lives to save others. I want to thank each of the brave men and women of our Metro Nashville Police Department. We should all be so lucky to have a police force like ours. When our city experiences tragedy, we come together as one community to support and lift each other up. I am sure that will happen now. My thoughts are with the family and friends of Officer John Anderson and our entire police force today.”
The roadway is currently closed to traffic and multiple nearby roadways are blocked.
No additional details were immediately released. The investigation is ongoing.