Community mourns defense attorney killed in crash involving Detroit police cruiser

Officers involved in crash on leave pending investigation into crash

DETROIT – On Monday, well known Detroit defense attorney and radio host, Cliff Woodards, was killed in a crash involving a police vehicle around 1 a.m. at the intersection of Jeffries Service Drive and W. Chicago.

“I’m deeply saddened to learn about the tragic accident that took the life of one of our city’s most outspoken and beloved residents, attorney Cliff Woodards. Cliff was a unique, relevant voice in our city. My thoughts go out to his family, friends and fans during this difficult time,” said Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan.

Original Story: 58-year-old man killed in crash involving Detroit police vehicle

One of the factors in the crash was the speed of the Detroit Police Department cruiser going into the intersection at night with limited visibility and weather conditions already less than ideal.

Detroit police say an officer in a marked SUV was responding to a call for backup when they entered the intersection of Jeffries Service Drive and W. Chicago running a red light with their own lights and siren on.

Police say that officer was going close to 50 mph when it collided with a Lexus Sedan. Woodards, 58, was behind the wheel.

The officers and Woodards were taken to the hospital where the attorney was pronounced dead. Meanwhile, the officers were treated and released.

Detroit police chief James Craig noted Monday that he has serious concerns with what led up to the crash.

Woodards was known for his colorful commentary and just as colorful clothes. Friends say he was always ready for a good conversation.

“Cliff was also very compassionate, he was committed to his community and to others, and I mean he was a good person,” said communications professional Karen Dumas, a friend of Woodards for 30 years.

She says he was likely on his way home from a friend’s house after the Super Bowl Sunday night.

Community members have posted moving tributes about Woodwards on social media.

“He’s got the entire city of Detroit crying just the way he wanted to be,” said Dumas.

DPD says investigators are still working out what happened, but once that’s finished, according to Craig it will likely end up in the hands of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. The prosecutor’s office would determine if a crime was committed.

The officers involved in the crash are on leave pending an investigation into the crash.

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