Louisville, KY – Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) Detective Deidre “Dee Dee” Mengedoht was killed in the line of duty on Christmas Eve, when she was struck by an intoxicated semi-truck driver during a traffic stop.
The fatal collision occurred at 2:09 p.m., after the 32-year-old detective stopped a pickup with four occupants under the Belvedere underpass on Interstate 64, WDRB reported.
As Detective Mengedoht was sitting in her patrol car with her emergency lights activated, a Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) tractor trailer slammed into the cruiser from behind, smashing the detective’s car into the pickup truck she had pulled over.
The violent impact trapped Det. Mengedoht inside the flaming wreckage of her patrol vehicle, and she died at the scene, WKYT reported.
LMPD Chief Steve Conrad said that the damage to the detective’s cruiser was “catastrophic,” according to WDRB.
No one else involved in the collision was severely injured.
The MSD tractor trailer driver, 60-year-old Roger Burdette, has been charged with driving under the influence and murder of a police officer.
According to police, Burdette admitted to having consumed multiple prescription drugs prior to the collision, the Courier Journal reported.
“[He] made no attempt to avoid collision with [the] police vehicle,” his arrest citation read, according to the news outlet.
"DeeDee, as she was known to her friends and colleagues, gave her life serving the community, which is something she loved to do," Chief Conrad said during a press conference. “She always went above and beyond what was asked of her or required of her…This is a tragic, tragic day for everyone."
Det. Mengedoht served in the LMPD’s Second Division, and had been with the department for over seven years.
"My heart goes out to her mother, her father, her young son, and to her family and friends and her colleagues on this department," Chief Conrad said.
"This officer went to work today to once again patrol our streets and died doing an officer's sworn duty, protecting our great city,” Louisville Metro Council President David James said in a statement, according to WDRB. “Instances such as this should remind us all of the dangers our officers face in the line of duty."
Former LMPD Second Division Commander Jimmy Harper described Det. Mengedoht as an outstanding detective who truly understood what it meant to serve others, the Courier Journal reported.
"I was truly impressed with her true desire to do her best and be her best, not for her own self-promotion, but because she gave a damn about the Second Division community at a time when LMPD and our community needed the best from our public servants,” Commander Harper said.
“She had gained a lot of respect in her short career,” he noted. “Some of the bad guys liked to call her ‘Blondie’ as a sign of appreciation because they liked her so much."
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said that Det. Mengehoht’s tragic death was a “painful reminder” of the sacrifices law enforcement officers make each day, and he urged those celebrating with their families to remember the fallen officer’s family and coworkers.
"My heart is breaking today as we mourn the tragic death of Louisville Metro Police Detective Deidre Mengedoht,” Fischer said. “She committed herself to service on behalf of our city, and her death is a painful reminder of the sacrifices that our public safety professionals make every day.”
"At a time when so many of us are gathered with family in celebration of the holidays, this is a terribly sad day for our entire community,” the mayor continued. “I urge my fellow citizens to join me in praying for Deidre’s family, and her LMPD brothers and sisters."
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Louisville Metro Police Department Detective Deidra “Dee Dee” Mengehoht, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Detective Deidre Mengedoht, your life mattered.