Colerain, OH – Colerain Township Police Department (CTPD) Officer Dale Woods died in the line of duty on Monday, three days after he was struck by a pickup truck while directing traffic at a crash scene.
Officer Woods, 46, responded to a report of a collision at the intersection of Harry Lee Lane and Colerain Avenue just before 9 p.m. on Jan. 4, WKRC reported.
A motorist had crashed into a utility pole in the rainy weather, and Officer Woods was moving traffic control devices and redirecting motorists while the utility company responded to repair the damages, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
At approximately 11 pm., while he was moving one of the traffic cones, a pickup truck slammed into him, according to his obituary.
Officer Woods, a 15-year veteran of the force, was rushed to the University of Cincinnati Medical center, where he remained in “very critical condition,” Colerain Township Police Chief Mark Denney said, according to WLWT.
He succumbed to his injuries at 8:10 p.m. on Monday, surrounded by his family and coworkers.
The Cincinnati Police Department is handling the ongoing crash investigation, according to Officer Woods’ obituary.
“This is a sad night for us,” Chief Denney said during a press conference later that night, according to WXIX. “He leaves behind a loving family, a grateful police department and a grateful community.”
“This is the hardest thing I’ve done in 26 years as a police officer,” the chief said. “We thank the community for their huge outpouring of support, love and prayers. It was felt by the family from the minute Dale was injured to the moment we stand here.”
Chief Denney said he was not surprised to learn that Officer Woods was an organ donor, because he was always helping others.
“Even in his final moments, he shared – he became an organ donor,” the chief said with admiration. “Even gone, he cares about people and he takes care of them. That’s him.”
Chief Denney said he had known Officer Woods for 32 years, and described him as a “cop’s cop,” The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
"Some people you teach to be a cop, others were born to be one," the chief explained. "Dale was born to be a cop."
Officer Woods graduated from high school in the community he would later serve – first as a firefighter, and later as a law enforcement officer, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported.
Colerain Township Fire Department Battalion Chief Steve Conn worked with Officer Woods as a firefighter before he decided to embark on his law enforcement career.
"We gave him grief about leaving the fire service for 'the dark side,' but he loved being a police officer,” Chief Conn recalled.
Even after Officer Woods formally left his 15-year career at the fire department, he kept coming around to raid the fridge in search of midnight snacks, the chief told The Cincinnati Enquirer.
“What you saw was not always what you got,” he explained. “"He seemed like a quiet guy. But he loved loud heavy metal music. Five Finger Death Punch. Godsmack. He would jump into a mosh pit without reservation. He did not act his age."
Officer Woods also served as a Hamilton County Communications Center dispatcher, and worked for the police and fire department in North College Hill before he joined the CTPD, retired CTPD Lieutenant Angela Meyer told The Cincinnati Enquirer.
"We always teased him about being our poster boy," Lt. Meyer recalled. "He is meticulous about everything on his uniform, and is always professional in everything he does."
She described Officer Woods as a “good man” who was “strong, faithful…and always fair.”
On Tuesday, Ohio Governor John Kasich ordered that flags be lowered to half-staff in honor of Officer Woods’ years of service.
“The death of Colerain Township Police Officer Dale Woods is not only a tragedy for the community he served, it is also a heartbreaking loss that all Ohioans share,” Kasich tweeted.
Officer Woods leaves behind his three children, according to his obituary.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Colerain Township Police Department Officer Dale Woods, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.