ELK GROVE, Calif. (KTXL) — An entire community remains in shock Friday night after an Elk Grove officer was killed in a wrong-way crash.
“We are heartbroken. We are broken,” said Elk Grove Police Chief Timothy Albright. “We are broken as a community.”
Officer Tyler ‘Ty’ Lenehan died early Friday morning on Highway 99 while on his way to work.
The California Highway Patrol’s Sacramento dispatch center said they received a call about a wrong-way driver going northbound in the southbound lanes of Highway 99 around 5:13 a.m. At the time, the caller reported the driver was near 47th Avenue.
Multiple units responded to the area, the CHP reported. Another caller then reported that the wrong-way driver had collided with a police motorcycle.
The CHP said the suspect was driving a 2016 Dodge Challenger at the time of the crash near 12th Avenue and was allegedly found walking away from the scene when they arrived.
Officers also found Lenehan, who had been ejected from his motorcycle and had life-threatening injuries. He was taken to UC Davis Medical Center, where he later died.
“This was entirely senseless,” said Councilmember Kevin Spease.
The community has rallied together all day to show their support for the fallen officer. Sacramento police and the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office offered to patrol Elk Grove to allow the community’s officers “a moment to process through the heartbreaking loss of Officer Ty Lenehan.”
Before becoming an officer, Lenehan was a member of the Air Force for five years. He began his law enforcement career as a reserve officer for the Citrus Heights Police Department in 2012.
He then worked for two years with the Galt Police Department before joining Elk Grove police in 2016.
“Will be remembered for his infectious smile, his genuine and loyal heart and his love for his God, his family, this profession and this community,” Albright said.
From close friends to coworkers to complete strangers, people at the vigil were trying to stay strong to help a family through their pain and loss.
For Councilmember Stephanie Nguyen, whose husband was an officer in the motor unit for six years, she said her heart breaks for the family.
“A wife will go home tonight as a widow. A mother will go home to her two little boys, the same age as my two little girls, and share with them their father is not coming home tonight,” Nguyen said.
It’s a tragedy that Mayor Bobbie Singh-Allen said should never have happened.
“It could have been prevented. Don’t drink and drive. It’s that simple. There is no excuse. There is no excuse,” Singh-Allen said.
The law enforcement community is coming together to help the Lenehan family. Singh-Allen said Lenehan’s wife serves at the Sacramento Police Department.