Marion County, SC – Marion County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) Patrolman First Class Michael “Mike” Shawn Latu died in a single-vehicle crash as he was responding to a call early Tuesday morning.
The collision occurred on U.S. 76 near the U.S. 501 Bypass at approximately 1:05 a.m., South Carolina Highway Patrol (SCHP) Corporal Sonny Collins told WBTV.
PFC Latu was traveling eastbound in his 2009 Chevrolet Tahoe patrol vehicle when his SUV veered off the right-hand side of the roadway and slammed into a bridge pillar, Cpl. Collins explained.
He did not survive his injuries, his department said in a mid-morning press release.
Law enforcement agencies from multiple jurisdictions responded to escort the fallen deputy’s body to Charleston for an autopsy, the MCSO said in a Facebook post.
The SCHP’s Multi-disciplinary Accident Investigation Team is handling the ongoing investigation into the fatal collision, SCNow reported.
PFC Latu joined the MCSO as a 911 dispatch operator in November of 2012, and began serving as a deputy in January of 2015.
"’Mike’ was quiet with a genius level IQ,” the MCSO said. “He was the workhorse of the department and was always eager to help.”
He was named as the MCSO’s Deputy of the Year in 2018, and was also chosen as the 2018 Patrolman of the Year.
“The void left by our brother will never be filled,” the MCSO said. “We ask for your prayers of comfort during this time, not only for his family but for his ‘blue’ family as well.”
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Marion County Sheriff’s Office Patrolman First Class Michael “Mike” Shawn Latu, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.