27-year-old off-duty Detroit police officer, girlfriend killed in crash on Woodward Avenue

James Hearn spent more than 4 years working for Detroit police

James Hearn (WDIV)
James Hearn (WDIV)

DETROIT – An off-duty Detroit police officer and his girlfriend were killed Thursday in a crash on Woodward Avenue at the State Fair intersection, Chief James Craig said.

James Hearn, 27, was driving home after a long day working with the Detroit Police Department's Team-Up program mentoring youth, Craig said.

At some point, the vehicle veered off the road and crashed into a light standard or pole, Craig said. Witnesses said the car wasn't speeding. No other vehicles were involved in the crash.

READDetroit police chief on off-duty officer killed in crash: 'He loved his job'

Craig said there was "nothing nefarious" about the crash.

"What's factual is it's an accident," Craig said. "It's tragic."

Hearn's girlfriend was in the front passenger seat at the time of the crash. Police haven't released her name because her family hasn't been notified. Craig said they had a child together.

Hearn's 11-year-old daughter was in the back seat of the vehicle. She was treated for minor injuries and released, Craig said.

Hearn also had a young son.

Craig said Hearn worked at the Detroit Police Department for more than four years. He loved working with the police athletic program and the youth, Craig said.

"James was what I would call the ultimate community police officer," Craig said. "He loved his job."

Craig said Hearn was previously awarded a lifesaving citation for saving someone from a burning building.

Hearn's job included crowd control and management, including pedestrians and vehicles, in the Downtown Detroit footprint, his supervisor said.

"We love each and every one of the officers," Craig said. "We love James Hearn. We feel his presence right now as we speak."

Hearn's father spent 30 years working for the Detroit Police Department and is now retired, Craig said.

The crash is still under investigation.

James Hearn (WDIV)

About the Author:

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.