Officer hit while probing crash
York Daily Record From staff reports / 10/22/2008
If York City Police Officer Kyle Hower could get a message to his friend, Northern York County Regional Officer David Tome, it would be this: “Your city brothers will miss you.”
Tome died Tuesday morning as he was helping re-create the scene of a fatal weekend crash on Route 15 in Franklin Township.
Tome, of the Spring Grove area, was struck by a 2006 Saturn Vue, driven by a Dillsburg woman, according to Pennsylvania State Police. He died instantly, officials said.
Hower said he and Tome attended Harrisburg Area Community College’s Police Academy in 2002 and were hired by Northern Regional in 2003.
“He was a quiet and reserved guy, but wasn’t afraid to stand up for what he believed in,” Hower said. “He was a devoted family man, he talked about his wife and kids quite a bit.”
Tome took pride in being a police officer, such as training in defensive tactics, as well as possessing “probably the most polished pair of boots I’ve ever seen,” Hower said.
Hower left Northern Regional for York City Police in 2006, but it was during the three years he spent at Northern that Tome received training in accident reconstruction, he said.
News of Tome’s death reverberated around the county, reaching the municipalities covered by Northern Regional.
“It’s a very, very tragic accident,” said Lisa Wingert, chairwoman of the Manchester Township Board of Supervisors. “Our prayers and thoughts are with the family and the other officers.”
York County Coroner Barry Bloss, a former city police officer, and Trooper Karl Schmidhamer, public information officer for Pennsylvania State Police, said the death shook the law enforcement community.
“When something like this happens, it hits us all hard,” Schmidhamer said.
According to York Daily Record/Sunday News archives, Tome was a 1996 Spring Grove Area High School graduate.
Just after 9 a.m. Tuesday, Tome had finished setting up several orange warning cones in the right lane of Route 15, near Clear Springs Road, when he was hit by the right, front fender of Joanna Seibert’s vehicle, Schmidhamer said.
Tome’s body was thrown into the air, over a guardrail and down an embankment before coming to rest, Bloss said. The body was removed just after 1:30 p.m.
Two other Northern York County Regional Police officers, who were helping with reconstructing a crash that took the life of a 45-year-old Adams County woman, immediately called for help, Schmidhamer said. It is not clear whether they witnessed Tome getting struck.
Tome was killed less than a half-mile from where Twila Martin, 45, of Franklin Township was killed in a crash Sunday and six others were injured. It was that crash that Tome was to have reconstructed.
The officers who were with Tome at the crash scene will be interviewed today about what they saw, Schmidhamer said. An autopsy will be conducted at Lehigh Valley Hospital today to determine the official cause of death, Bloss said.
Because Tome was a Northern York County Regional officer, his department could not investigate his death, and state police are in charge of the investigation.
More than a mile of the highway was closed for more than five hours as state police investigated the crash.
York County District Attorney Stan Rebert said Tuesday he expects an investigation report on Tome’s death from the state police today. He said his office will determine if circumstances leading up to the officer’s death merit the filing of criminal charges.
Brake marks on the highway indicated Seibert tried to stop, Schmidhamer said.
Seibert, 37, was taken to an area hospital because she was “pretty shook up” from the incident, he said. She was not injured, according to a release from state police.
A search of Seibert’s record on Pennsylvania’s Unified Judicial System Web site indicates she had numerous traffic violations in the past eight years, including disregarding traffic control devices, exceeding a 55 mph speed limit by 15 mph, careless driving and following too closely.
Staff writers Teresa Boeckel, Michele Canty, Ted Czech, Mike Hoover and Rick Lee contributed to this report.
A remembrance page for Northern York County Regional Police Officer David Tome, 31, has been set up on the Officer Down Memorial Page Web site, where family, friends and citizens can leave a reflection.
To see Tome’s remembrance page, go to www.odmp.org.
KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY
May 21, 1929: Curtis Sowers,33, a North York officer and York County deputy sheriff, was the first police officer in York County to lose his life in the line of duty. He was shot and killed while helping to serve a warrant for cattle rustling on a farm near Lewisberry.
July 18, 1969:; Henry C. Schaad22, was a York City Police officer shot while riding in an armored truck during the summer race riots in York. He died from his wounds Aug. 1, 1969.
Aug. 19, 1994; Willis Cole, 30, of Fairview Township, was a New Cumberland officer shot and killed after responding to a Cumberland County coin shop robbery.
Jan. 10, 2005: Edward Eugene (Skip) Schroeder Jr., 47, of Springettsbury Township, a York County Sheriff’s deputy who died from a heart attack during training.
By the numbers:
102 – Number of police officers killed in the line of duty nationwide so far this year.
51 – Percent of officers killed on the job who died in traffic fatality cases this year.
35 – Percent of police officers killed in cases involving firearms this year.
11 – Number of years traffic fatalities have been the leading cause of death for police officers nationwide.
5 – Number of police officers in Pennsylvania who were killed in the line of duty so far this year.
One – Number of York County police officers killed in the line of duty in the last decade.
Sources: National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Officers Down Web site, YDR/YSN archives