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Former Shaker Heights, Lyndhurst police officer killed in line of duty protecting others from wrong-way driver

Updated: Mar. 9, 2021 at 12:18 PM EST
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Several communities are mourning the sudden loss of an officer who was killed in the line of duty Tuesday morning after police say he veered into vehicle to save other motorists from a wrong-way driver in Tampa, Fla.

Master Patrol Officer Jesse Masden, 45, was a native of Shaker Heights and a Marine combat veteran. He leaves behind a wife and three children: a 16-year-old son, a 12-year-old son, and a 10-year-old daughter.

Before joining the Tampa Police Department more than 16 years ago, Masden was a police officer in Shaker Heights and Lyndhurst.

Sgt Timothy Grafton of the Shaker Heights Police Department said the department was beyond saddened and stunned to learn of the death of Officer Madsen.

“Many of us gathered to share memories of Officer Madsen and two words kind of stuck out,” Grafton said, “I heard dedication and I heard devoted and I heard those words many times over again.”

According to Tampa Police, the department began receiving calls shortly before 1 a.m. about a white vehicle driving in the wrong direction on Interstate 275. Witnesses say the driver was speeding and swerving.

Within one minute of the original call, investigators said the white vehicle crashed into Masden’s police vehicle.

Both the officer and the other driver, identified as 25-year-old Joshua Daniel Montague, of Golden, Colo., died on impact, according to Tampa Police.

“We have reason to believe that he veered into this oncoming car to protect others,” said Tampa Police Chief Brian Dugan at a news conference Tuesday morning. “That’s what we have gathered through some of our witnesses and investigation.”

Dugan said it’s no surprise that Madsen would do something like that because the officer had won the department’s life-saving award seven times.

“That’s an incredible testament to his service to our community,” Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said of the officer’s accolades.

“And if what Chief Dugan has said, that he actually took in the last seconds of his life... if he took steps to try to save others by laying down his life, that really is a true testament to the kind of individual that Jesse Madsen was,” said Castor.

Madsen’s badge number, 507, will be retired and his name will be etched into the Tampa Police Fallen Officers Memorial.

He is the 32nd Tampa Police officer to die in the line of duty, according to the department.

The Tampa Police foundation, Rise Tampa, has set up ways to officially donate to Officer Madsen’s family.

The police department says 100% of the donations will be provided directly to the family.

By Mail: Checks or money orders can be sent to:

RISE Tampa i/c/o MPO Madsen

PO Box 17281

Tampa, FL 33672

Online: www.risetampa.org/officermadsen

Venmo: @risetampa

PayPal: paypal.me/risetampa

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