Updated: July 24, 2012 at 12:00 am
Matthew Tyner, a 13-year veteran of the Colorado Springs Police Department, died Tuesday afternoon when his police motorcycle collided with another vehicle.
Tyner was a member of the Specialized Enforcement Motorcycle Unit. He was riding his motorcycle and conducting traffic enforcement when he collided with a vehicle on Austin Bluffs Parkway near Oro Blanco Drive, Police Chief Pete Carey announced.
Tyner was the 13th officer from the Colorado Springs Police Department to die in the line of duty.
The investigation into the crash that caused his death is on-going by the major accident unit, said police spokeswoman Barbara Miller in a news release.
"Today proved to be devastating to the Colorado Springs Police Department," Carey said.
Carey, accompanied by Mayor Steve Bach and Fire Chief Rich Brown, made the brief statement at Memorial Hospital Central, but took no questions.
“Matthew’s outgoing personality and friendship will be sorely missed by all those who knew him and worked with him,” Miller wrote in the news release.
In an statement emailed Tuesday evening, Bach called the loss of a police officer “heartbreaking.”
“An accident that will affect his family and friends for the rest of their lives causes us all to realize how precious life is,” Bach wrote. “This has been a sad and difficult summer for Colorado Springs and, in fact, our whole state — many will join us in mourning the loss of Officer Tyner.”
The crash occurred just after 2:30 p.m. Tyner was taken to Memorial, where several other police motorcycle officers gathered.
Austin Bluffs between Oro Blanco and Old Farm Drive was closed for much of the day while the crash was cleaned up. The road was fully reopened just before 8:30 p.m.
Tyner joined the Colorado Springs Police Department on Jan. 21, 1999, after serving three years with the Kansas City Police Department.
During his career in Colorado Springs, Tyner served as a patrol officer, a neighborhood resource officer and a training academy instructor before joining the police motorcycle unit.
The only other officer to be killed in a motorcycle crash died on Aug. 7, 1975, when his motorcycle went off the west side of Interstate 25 south of Uintah Street.
Denny Ives’ body was discovered several hours after the crash, which happened as he drove to help with the Pageant of the Rockies Parade. The motorcycle crashed into an area that was hidden from view, according to Colorado Springs police.
Later that year, Harry Allen, a traffic investigator, was killed on Dec. 22, 1975, when a vehicle hit him while he investigated a crash at Platte Avenue and Powers Boulevard — marking the only other traffic-related fatality for the department.
As Allen took measurements, a car going south on Powers hit him, carrying him 150 feet on the vehicle’s hood, according to Colorado Springs police. The intersection wasn't lit and Allen's car didn’t have overhead lights, police said.
Officers cited the driver of the vehicle with careless driving, police said, a citation that carried a $25 fine.
The most recent officer to die on duty was Kenneth Jordan, who died Dec. 5, 2006 when Marco Lee shot him after being pulled over for drunken driving in the 4400 block of Fountain Boulevard.
Lee shot Jordan with a handgun and was arrested by two other officers. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Jordan was the second officer to be killed that year.
Jared Jensen, a detective, was fatally shot on Feb. 22, 2006 by Jereme A. Lamberth, a felon wanted on suspicion of attempted murder. Lamberth was sentenced to 96 years in prison for the slaying.
Gazette reporter Jakob Rodgers contributed to this report.