An off-duty police officer in Prince George’s County died in a late-night crash Tuesday after he was thrown from his motorcycle and struck by two vehicles along the Capital Beltway.
The crash left the Maryland department mourning Officer Davon McKenzie, a middle-school resource officer who had been on the force for two years.
“He was respectful, he was courteous, he was thoughtful and he was described as mature,” Prince George’s County Police Chief Hank Stawinski said of how McKenzie’s commanders remembered the young officer. “For a 24-year-old, a new police officer, to be described thusly by people of tremendous experience and skill . . . he was special.”
McKenzie had been working as a school resource officer at William Wirt Middle School for just under a year, an assignment he had requested, police said.
The crash happened around 11:20 p.m. along the southbound side of the Beltway near Route 202, also called Landover Road, in the Largo area. Officials said a Nissan Altima was trying to get onto the southbound lanes of the Beltway from Route 202 when it hit a street sweeper that was going slow in the lanes near the ramp.
The Altima driver lost control, veered across the southbound lanes and struck McKenzie, who was riding a Suzuki motorcycle.
McKenzie was thrown from the motorcycle, went over the jersey wall and landed in the northbound lanes of the Beltway, where he was hit by two other vehicles, according to the Maryland State Police. He died at a hospital.
“He was doing nothing other than enjoying himself . . . on his motorcycle,” said Stawinski, his eyes glassy with tears as he addressed the media.
All of the vehicles involved in the crash stayed on the scene, Maryland State Police said. No one has been charged and the crash remains under investigation, state police said.
“My heart breaks for this young officer, and his family, who was taken from us far too soon,” Prince George’s County Executive Angela D. Alsobrooks (D) said in a statement. “Officer Davon McKenzie, who took the oath to protect and serve the citizens and residents of Prince George’s County more than two years ago, had a bright future ahead of him.”
The incident happened three hours after police were investigating an unrelated double-fatal crash in Brandywine and comes amid heightened county efforts to reduce deadly traffic collisions.
This year, there have been 33 fatal crashes resulting in 44 deaths in Prince George’s County, according to Maryland State Police. Prince George’s is the deadliest county in Maryland for crashes, accounting for 20 percent of the state’s fatal collisions across 24 jurisdictions, according to data released this spring by Maryland’s Motor Vehicle Administration.
McKenzie was an only son and grew up in Prince George’s, Stawinski said.
William Wirt Principal Rhonda Simley called McKenzie “a ray of sunshine who made a huge impact in a short period of time.”
“He touched the lives of our scholars every day, frequently sharing how he learned about the police academy, telling them law enforcement stories and providing a listening ear to scholars and staff who needed it,” Simley said in a statement.
John “Zeek” Teletchea, the president of the union that represents Prince George’s police, said McKenzie’s family and the community have “suffered a great loss.”
“What we’ve lost,” Teletchea said, “is the career that could have been and the multitude of lives that could have been touched and changed had Davon stayed with us.”