TRENTON, Maine (AP) — A Maine sheriff's deputy was struck and killed while responding to a report of a vehicle off the road early Thursday, officials said.
Hancock County Deputy Luke Gross was hit by another vehicle on Route 3 around 4 a.m., officials said.
It was unclear what became of the motorist who hit the deputy. The investigation was turned over to state police, which had no immediate comment.
Gross was an 18-year member of the sheriff's office, a DARE officer, a youth camp volunteer and a school board member, in addition to being a father and husband, Sheriff Scott Kane told reporters in Ellsworth.
“We will miss Luke greatly. He was a great addition to our family at the sheriff’s office and a credit to his profession. The world needs more like Luke in law enforcement and in our communities,” he said.
Maine Gov. Janet Mills issued a statement mourning the loss of a law enforcement officer in the line of duty.
"Deputy Gross ended his watch protecting our great state, and his service and sacrifice will not be forgotten. On behalf of the people of Maine, I extend our condolences to his family, loved ones, and colleagues around the state,” the governor said.
Gross became the 88th law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty here in Maine — and the first death in the Hancock County Sheriff’s Department in almost 100 years, officials said.
A police escort accompanied Gross’ body to the state medical examiner’s office in Augusta. Mills will direct that U.S. flags in Maine be lowered to half-staff on the day of Gross’ funeral, once it’s announced.
The death happened nearly two weeks after Maine State Police and the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety implored motorists to abide by the state's 2007 “Move Over” law to give space to officers alongside roads.
The crash was similar to one in April 2019, when State Police Detective Ben Campbell was killed when he stopped to assist a vehicle that had spun off I-95 in Hampden. Campbell was struck and killed by a tire and wheel that came off a passing logging truck.