TAYMOUTH TOWNSHIP, Mich. — A Michigan State Police trooper died early Wednesday in a rollover crash near Birch Run while on his way to help Saginaw County sheriff's deputies chase a motorist, authorities said.
Trooper Jeffrey Werda, 43, was responding to a call for backup when he apparently lost control and crashed in Saginaw County's Taymouth Township, police told radio stations WSGW and WWJ. Werda was an 11-year state police veteran who had worked at the Bridgeport Post for about four years.
A passing motorist came upon the crash scene about 70 miles northwest of Detroit and called 911, police said.
Police say the chase began in the Chesaning area after authorities tried to stop a motorist for an equipment violation, and the motorist later was caught.
On Wednesday morning, the parking lot of the post in Bridgeport Township was nearly full and the U.S. flag outside the post was lowered to half-staff. Troopers from Bay City and Flint were working in the area on Wednesday so troopers from the Bridgeport Post could grieve, said 1st Lt. Patrick McGreevy.
"We came out here early in the morning and lowered it down to half-staff," McGreevy told The Saginaw News. "That was tough."
Werda, of Gladwin, is survived by a wife, and more information about his family and funeral arrangements will be released later, McGreevy said. He began his state police career at the Gladwin post and worked in Detroit before transferring to the Bridgeport Post, McGreevy said.
The crash was under investigation, but McGreevy said initial information indicated that neither road conditions nor weather conditions were contributing factors.