Austin officer dies of injuries from crash
Austin police and first responders from across Texas are mourning the loss of Lewis “Andy” Traylor, an officer who died Saturday of injuries sustained in a collision with an 18 wheeler in East Austin last week.
Traylor, a member of the Austin Police Department for nine years and a U.S. Navy veteran, leaves behind a wife and five children.
“Andy was an incredible officer, husband, father and friend and he will be missed by all of us,” interim Austin Police Chief Joe Chacon said in a statement late Saturday.
Chacon noted in a letter to fellow officers that even in death, “Andy was able to provide life to many individuals who were in need, with the donation of his organs.”
“Even in paying the ultimate sacrifice, Andy was committed to helping others in their time of need, and his heroism will live on,” Chacon wrote.
Traylor had been hospitalized since Wednesday’s collision, which occurred while he was responding to a “priority one” call in the 7800 block of FM 969 near Decker Lane about 2:10 a.m.
Police did not say what type of incident prompted Traylor’s response but said priority one calls need to be immediately attended to. In the past, such calls have included shootings or other critical incidents.
Traylor was traveling west on FM 969 in his patrol vehicle when the 18 wheeler attempted a U-turn in front of him, leading to a collision. Traylor, whose vehicle ended up pinned under the 18-wheeler, was pulled from the wreck and taken to Dell Seton Medical Center near downtown.
The driver of the 18-wheeler, who was not injured, stayed at the scene and was cooperating with the investigation into the crash. Police have not said whether charges are pending.
“We can honor Andy’s memory by continuing to support his family and one another,” Chacon wrote in his letter to his officers. “Take time with your loved ones, and never miss an opportunity to spend time with them, as we never know what life has in store.”
To help Traylor’s family, Austin Cops for Charities has started a fundraising campaign. Donations can be made at austinc4c.com, police said. As of 10:30 a.m. Sunday, the nonprofit said it had raised about $25,000 for the family.
“Our sincere condolences to the Traylor family, his friends and working colleagues,” police union leader Ken Casaday told Austin Police Association members Saturday. “His sacrifice will be forever remembered.”
As news of Traylor’s death spread over the weekend, more support and condolences poured in over social media.
“Rest in peace, Andy; we’ll see you on the top floor,” the Austin Fire Department wrote on its Facebook page.
Police departments from across Texas, including those in Houston, Arlington, Flower Mound, Hallettsville and Hewitt, posted tributes on Twitter and Facebook.
On Sunday morning a procession flanked by Austin police motorcycles carried Traylor’s body from Dell Seton to the Travis County medical examiner’s office in East Austin.
Funeral arrangements are pending, police said.
Traylor’s death is the first in the line of duty among Austin police ranks in almost five years. The last three Austin police officers to die in the line of duty were involved in traffic incidents.
The most recent line-of-duty death occurred in September 2016, when senior police officer Amir Abdul-Khaliq died of injuries after being struck by a driver trying to cut through a funeral procession.
Abdul-Khaliq was escorting the procession on his patrol motorcycle in North Austin. He was a 17-year veteran of the Austin Police Department and a father of five.
Before Traylor and Abdul-Khaliq, 42year-old police Lt. Clay Crabb was killed in 2013 while on his way to check a low water crossing in heavy rain. Investigators said Crabb lost control of his police cruiser, hydroplaned and veered into oncoming traffic before colliding with a pickup on U.S. 290 near Sawyer Ranch Road near Dripping Springs.
Traylor is the 24th Austin police officer to die in the line of duty, police said.