Wet roads played a role in two separate accidents that left two law enforcement officers dead Saturday night.
Precinct 3 Deputy Constable Robert Clenney, 38, was en route to an off-duty security job when his small SUV was hit from behind by another car on South Main in East Harris County. The deputy lost control and spun into oncoming traffic where he was hit head-on by a pick-up truck. The driver of the truck was not injured.
“It’s really hard for us right now, we didn’t see this coming,” said the deputy’s widow, Denise Clenney, a mother of two little girls. “He was an outstanding husband, father, and a great police officer. It was his dream to be a police officer. I’m lucky to have as much time as I did with him,” she said. Deputy Clenney had been with the department for just 11 months. He worked in food service before becoming a law enforcement officer.
Just minutes before the deputy died, tragedy struck in Baytown less than two miles away. Baytown Police Sergeant George Drude, 40, lost control of his pick-up truck on the rain soaked roads and crashed into a concrete culvert on John Martin Road. The 15-year veteran of the department was killed instantly.
“You get a feeling of helplessness when you lose one of your own,” said Baytown Lieutenant Eric Freed, who worked with Drude for more than a decade. “We made a lot of disturbance calls together on the streets. He was great at problem solving, very dedicated to the job and he had a really great way with the public,” said Freed.
In a disturbing revelation, the Harris County Sheriff’s Department says neither officer was wearing his seatbelt. Precinct 3 Constable Ken Jones thinks there’s a lesson to be learned. “There’s definitely a message, wear the seatbelt, it’s there for a reason, it can save your life,” he said.
And to make matters worse in Deputy Clenney’s accident, the first car that hit him never stopped. Police say they have physical evidence from the scene and hope to find the driver who could face charges. “Everything happens for a reason. Even if it was an accident, please come forward. I’m a forgiving person and I don’t hold grudges and neither did Robert,’ said Denise Clenney.
The Precinct 3 Constable’s office is planning a fundraiser for the Clenney family. Mrs. Clenney is a stay-at-home mom who is going to school. “We could really use all the help we can get,” she said.
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