By Mark D. Wilson , Katie Hall and Mike Parker Austin American-Statesman
ROUND ROCK, Texas — A Round Rock police officer who was injured after being hit by a vehicle on Feb. 25 has died, Chief Allen Banks said on Friday.
“We are devastated by the passing of Officer Charles Whites,” Banks said. “Our heart breaks for Connie and all of Charles’ family. Charles was a great officer and an even better person. The past two months have shown how strong and close-knit we are as a Department. The support we’ve received from the Round Rock community, surrounding communities, and regional first responders has been inspiring. We will continue to lean on this strength and support as we remember Charles and honor his many years of public service.”
Whites was directing traffic around a crash on Interstate 35 after a pedestrian was hit and killed near Palm Valley Road around 6:45 a.m.
Raul Martinez, 65, was driving from San Antonio to Kentucky when he approached the area of the crash, according to an arrest affidavit.
Martinez told police that he saw Whites waving a flashlight to try to get him to change direction, but he wasn’t able to react in time, his arrest affidavit says. Martinez said that he hit “something” before stopping about 100 yards down the road, the affidavit says.
Investigators later discovered Martinez had taken twice the prescribed amount of gabapentin, a central nervous depressant, at the time of the crash, according to the report.
The document says the drug made Martinez unable to drive safely.
Police charged Martinez with intoxication assault after the crash.
Whites served as a patrol officer, field training officer and SWAT negotiator. He is survived by his wife and step-son, police said.
Police will escort Whites’ body from Hospice Austin’s Christopher House on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to the Travis County Medical Examiner’s Office, 7723 Springdale Road, around 3:30 p.m.
He will be received by a police honor wall.
The 100 Club of Central Texas has a survivor fund for the Whites family, and the Round Rock Police Officers Association has an online fundraising page. As of Friday, the police association had raised over $25,000, with a goal of reaching $50,000 in donations for the family.
Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan expressed his sadness to hear the news Friday.
“Officer Charles Whites paid the ultimate price to protect our community, and we are profoundly saddened by his passing,” Morgan said. “On behalf of the City of Round Rock, I extend my deepest sympathies to his family, and I ask all our citizens to join me in praying for the family, colleagues and friends he leaves behind.”
Round Rock City Manager Laurie Hadley also expressed her condolences.
“Today is an extremely sad day for our city family because we have lost a treasured member of our team,” Hadley said. “Officer Charles Whites was an outstanding person and a valued employee, and he will be deeply missed. I offer our sincerest condolences to his wife, Connie, and Charles’ family.”
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