Thursday, July 15, 2004

Inattentive officer dies in cycle crash

By David Eck
Enquirer contributor

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP - An off-duty Ross Township police officer who turned his head and made an angry gesture at a motorist crashed his motorcycle and died Tuesday night, officials said.

Greg Hodges, 44, was dead at the scene after his motorcycle ran a red light and struck a car at Ohio 4 and Liberty-Fairfield Road about 6:50 p.m.

Hodges was thrown from the motorcycle and was not wearing a helmet. Alcohol may have been a factor in the crash, Butler County Sheriff's Capt. Michael Grimes said.

Hodges was driving east on Ohio 4 when he cut in front of a car, Grimes said.

The driver honked and Hodges turned his head to make a gesture at the driver.

While his head was turned, the car in front of Hodges stopped for a red light at Liberty-Fairfield.

Hodges swerved to avoid hitting the car, and drove into the intersection, where he slammed into another car, Grimes said.

"He was not paying attention to what was going on," Grimes said. "His gesture cost him his life."

He worked part-time in Ross Township but previously had worked for 10 years as a Butler County sheriff's deputy.

In Ross Township, he worked between 40 and 50 hours a month, Ross Township Police Sgt. Carl Worley said. He had worked there since 2002.

Hodges worked at the sheriff's office for 10 years, primarily patrolling the county, but resigned in 2001.

Word of the crash spread quickly among Butler County law enforcement officers Wednesday. "A lot of us in our profession have to be able to separate personal feelings from the situation and continue to function," Grimes said. "He's a friend. He's a former employee, but the facts are what the facts are."


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