SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — An Elk Grove Police Department officer died early Friday after colliding with a wrong-way driver on Highway 99 in South Sacramento.
“This morning, we lost a six-year veteran of the Elk Grove Police Department,” said Elk Grove Police Chief Timothy Albright, who identified the officer as Tyler “Ty” Lenehan.
The California Highway Patrol’s Sacramento dispatch center 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.
When officers arrived, they detained 31-year-old Jermaine J. Walton of Sacramento.
The CHP said Walton 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.
Lenehan was transported to UC Davis Medical Center, where he was later pronounced dead.
Chief Albright said Lenehan was on his way to work when he was hit.
“This is an incredibly sad day for the Elk Grove Police Department, for the Elk Grove community, for law enforcement,” Albright said.
“Staff came to our officer’s aid immediately, and incredible life-saving measures were attempted. Unfortunately, our officer succumbed to his injuries,” Albright continued.
CHP investigators reported that Walton was driving northbound in the southbound number one lane before he struck Lenehan head-on.
At this time, the CHP has not determined how fast either vehicle was going.
Walton displayed “objective signs and symptoms of alcohol intoxication,” the CHP reported. He was arrested on suspicion of being under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.
Jail records show Walton was booked on felony charges of murder, driving under the influence, wrong-way driving, and causing an accident resulting in injury.
The events leading up to the crash are still under investigation.
The Elk Grove Police Department held a press conference Friday afternoon, where they expressed sadness caused by the death of Lenehan.
“In 2020, Ty realized his dream and that was to become a motor officer, to serve this great community — the community of Elk Grove,” Albright said. “He did so with distinction and professionalism. Officer Tyler ‘Ty’ Lenehan will be remembered for his infectious smile, his genuine and loyal heart, and his love for his God, his family, his profession and this community.”
Lenehan is a United States Air Force veteran, who also previously worked at the Citrus Heights and Galt police departments. Albright said Lenehan leaves behind a wife and two children.
“Our hearts are broken, and I know our community mourns with us,” Albright said. “And, while we will grieve together, we will mourn together. We will also remember, together, the sacrifice of officer Tyler ‘Ty’ Lenehan.”
A vigil will be held at the Elk Grove Police Department, 8400 Laguna Palms Way, at 6:30 p.m.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.