West Memphis Police Officer Dies In Line of Duty

September 12, 2003 - Posted at: 7:34 a.m. CDT

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. -- A crash of a West Memphis patrol car during a chase of another car carrying suspects in a robbery killed one officer and injured another.

The crash occured last night as the chase in the eastbound lanes of Interstate-55 neared the Arkansas end of a bridge carrying traffic over the Mississippi River into Memphis, Tennessee.  The section of roadway was closed to traffic.

State Police said 24-year-old Michael Waters was killed.  The State Police report said Waters, who was not wearing a seat belt, was ejected from his cruiser and run over by a second police car that was in pursuit.  Police Chief Robert Paudert says as the patrol car topped a hill, it struck a concrete barrier that the driver likely did not see in the dark.

The other injured officer, a passenger in Waters' vehicle, was identified as Robert Hester, 22, a trainee.  He was taken to a hospital for minor injuries.  State Police identified the driver of the other cruiser as Bert Shelton.

Officials said the officers were chasing three men in a stolen car with a Tennessee license plate when the crash occured at an exit near the bridge.  West Memphis and Memphis police were still searching for the suspects last night.

Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.