WESTLAND, Mich. - Police are still searching for the driver who struck a Wayne County sheriff's sergeant while he was jogging at Hines Park in Westland.
Sgt. Lee Smith was a long-time veteran of the Wayne County Sheriff's Department. He was out for a jog around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday on Hines Drive, west of Middlebelt Road.
As he was running on the side of the road, he was hit by a black Buick Enclave, police said. The driver took off, and now police are desperately trying to track them down.
The shaken Wayne County sheriff, Benny Napoleon, said Smith will long be remembered for his dedicated service.
"We lost a true hero," Napoleon said. "He was a valued member of this agency and someone that will be sorely missed."
Smith worked the road patrol in the Hines Park area and served on the special weapons and tactics team and regional task forces.
His fellow officers said they will remember him for a 10-year-old video made when Smith was a corporal who brought the mounted patrol to what they call a "blue mass" held at St. John's Detroit.
At the Livonia stables where they keep the Wayne County mounted division horses, Smith is fondly remembered.
"He was a great officer," said Darryl Taylor, who worked beside Smith for years. "He took his job seriously. He was a good guy. How sad is this today, knowing what happened? It's very sad."
One of the other workers said Smith watched over the horses with great vigor, even getting after employees who couldn't resist the temptation to feed the horses.
"You didn't want to do that around him, because you're not supposed to feed the horses," the worker said.
After putting in about 26 years on the force, Smith had just put in for his retirement last Friday. He was expecting to finish with the department Oct. 1.
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