Off-duty Wayne County sergeant killed in hit-and-run crash while jogging at Hines Park in Westland

Wayne County Sgt. Lee Smith killed in crash

Wayne County Sheriff's Sgt. Lee Smith was killed while jogging in Hines Park on Aug. 14, 2018.
Wayne County Sheriff's Sgt. Lee Smith was killed while jogging in Hines Park on Aug. 14, 2018.

WESTLAND, Mich. – A Wayne County sheriff's sergeant was killed Tuesday in a hit-and-run crash while he was jogging at Hines Park in Westland, police said.

The sergeant has been identified as Lee Smith, a 26-year veteran of the Wayne County Sheriff's Department who had just put in for his retirement.

Police said the tragic crash happened at the Sherwood Recreation Area. Smith was jogging and the car was heading east. It hit him and dragged him about 50 yards before leaving him, police said.

Word spread quickly about Smith's death.

Resident Michael Weber takes daily walks in the area, and he told Local 4 he heard a deafening sound.

"It sounded like two cars crashed," Weber said. "I said, 'No, I didn't hear no glass lens or anything like that.' I'm walking and I see a car take off, then another car take off and I figured they were chasing them."

Weber was right. An eyewitness saw the hit-and-run crash and followed the black SUV, but lost it in traffic. The eyewitness then returned to the scene of the hit-and-run to help Smith.

Weber said it was a highly intense and emotional scene as police officers and medical officials tried to revive Smith.

"Cops were pulling up galore and as soon as they got out, within a second, they knew what was going on," Weber said. "They were like, 'Oh no. Why?' It was sad. I was crying."

Smith ran the mounted unit and would tend to the horses at the Newburgh Lake Stables daily, whether he was on the clock or not.

"They do know," Sheriff Benny Napoleon said of the hit-and-run driver. "Obviously, us finding him as opposed to them turning themselves in creates a whole different scenario, so I'm urging them to do what they know they should do and come turn yourself in."

Westland police are investigating the incident. They said the vehicle appeared to be a black Buick Enclave with chrome trim and door handles. They believe there was heavy hood and front-end damage.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $2,500 reward for information that leads to an arrest. Anyone with information can call 1-800-SPEAK-UP.

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