Illinois officer dies trying to stop fleeing car on bridge

BROOKLYN, Ill. (AP) — An Illinois police officer died early Wednesday while trying to stop a car fleeing police into Missouri, authorities said.

The officer from Brooklyn was struck around 3 a.m. on the McKinley Bridge, which connects the two states. He was setting up stop sticks, which flatten tires, when he was struck by a red Dodge Charger, according to Illinois State Police.

The officer was identified as Brian Pierce, who was new to the department and in his 20s, Brooklyn Police Captain Antonio White told KMOV-TV.

“Officer Pierce was a very fine young man. Very energetic," White told the station. “When he came to work, he put a smile on your face. He’s an officer that you’d love to have on your team, your unit, he’s there all the time. If he was off work he’d show up, he just loved doing his job and this is what he loved to do as a police officer.”

Police didn’t offer details on what prompted the police chase, which began at a Brooklyn nightclub where officers were working to obtain video.

Brooklyn is a community of about 450 people roughly six miles from St. Louis.

The Charger, which had temporary Illinois tags, was found abandoned in Missouri, according to police.

While authorities were investigating the officer’s death on the bridge, another vehicle crashed through a roadblock and hit police cars, prompting investigators to open fire. The driver, who was wounded with non-life threatening injuries, was arrested along with three passengers, according to police.

It was unclear if the incidents were connected.

Lt. Michael Lewis with Illinois State Police described the scene on the bridge with back-to-back incidents as “chaotic,” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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