Monday, June 12, 2000

Officer killed in motorcycle crash

Policeman was headed home from work

By Cindi Andrews
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Terry Peirano, right, a motorcycle patrol officer, walk with FOP president Keith Fangman toward the scene of a fatal accident Sunday on Central Parkway.
(Michael E. Keating photo)
| ZOOM |
        A Cincinnati police officer died in a motorcycle accident in Camp Washington on his way home from work early Sunday.

        William Estes, 32, of Miamitown lost control of his Honda motorcycle on Central Parkway south of Hopple Street just after 5 a.m., po lice said.

        The bike slid to the left side of the road and struck a utility pole.

        The off-duty officer was not wearing a helmet, but wearing one would not have saved him, said Sgt. Rudy Gruenke of the division's traffic section, which is investigating the crash.

        Fellow officers were stunned and saddened Sunday by the death of the 51/2-year veteran.

        “The responding officers came upon the scene of a brother officer” who was dead, said Keith Fangman, president of Cincinnati's Fraternal Order of Police. “It's just devastating.”

        Mr. Fangman had been a friend of Officer Estes since going through the police academy with him.

        “He was a great man, a great beat cop,” Mr. Fangman said. “This is a tragic loss for the police division.”

        Officer Estes, of District 5, had just finished his 9 p.m.-5 a.m. shift at the time of the crash, police said.

        He may have been speeding when he lost control of his motorcycle just 11/2 miles from district offices at Ludlow Avenue and Central Parkway, Sgt. Gruenke said. The officer probably didn't fall asleep, he said, and alcohol was not a factor.

        The sergeant, too, knew Officer Estes. Fatal accidents “are all hard, but it makes it tougher when you know them,” he said.

        By Sunday afternoon, the spot where the officer died already was marked with carnations, balloons and a cross bearing his name. A

        half mile away, the sign at Central Parkway Church of God read, “Remember our police officers in prayer.”

        Officer Estes specialized in traffic enforcement, handling minor accidents, speeding and DUIs in District 5, which includes Clifton, College Hill, Mount Airy, North side and Winton Place.

        He had received more than a page of commendations from superiors and motorists. One couple, for instance, thanked him for helping when a broken belt left them stranded at 2 a.m. “So helpful, courteous and very professional,” they said.

        Officer Estes served in the Air Force before joining the Cincin nati Police Division and remained in the reserves.

        He had three accidents while on duty, according to his personnel file — two of which were his fault. But that's not an abnormal number for five-plus years, Sgt. Gruenke said.

        “The active guys that are out there driving cars, they have accidents,” he said.

        The FOP plans to work with the family to schedule a memorial service. Those arrangements have not yet been made, Mr. Fangman said.

        Officer Estes was divorced and had no children, he said.

        Family members said Sunday they did not wish to talk.


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