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Suspect Arrested in Drunk Driving Death of Texas Officer

Fort Worth Star Telegram via Associated Press

A Grapevine police officer, who specialized in taking intoxicated motorists off the road, was struck and killed by a drunken-driving suspect early Saturday while making a routine traffic stop, police said.

Darren Medlin, 34, a four-year veteran of the Grapevine Police Department and a former Marine, was standing beside a Ford Mustang he had pulled over on southbound Texas 121 in Euless near the Grapevine border when he was struck by a Lincoln driven by a Bedford man, Sgt. Todd Dearing said.

Medlin, who was thrown about 50 yards, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Lincoln's driver, Roy Alvin Adams Jr., 27, was arrested on suspicion of intoxication manslaughter. He was released Saturday afternoon from the Euless Jail after posting $50,000 bail, officials said.

Medlin is the first Grapevine officer killed on duty since the inception of the department in 1956.

"What is most striking about this is that part of the guy's job was to get out there and fight drunk driving," Grapevine City Manager Roger Nelson said. "Any death like this is senseless and tragic, but there's a double-senselessness to it in that it was a drunk driver, or an alleged drunk driver, that took his life."

Medlin's death was captured on videotape at 2:32 a.m. by a camera in his patrol car. As with any routine traffic stop, he approached the Mustang from the driver's side and spoke to the woman through her rolled-down window, Dearing said. The lights atop his patrol car were flashing.

Medlin had been talking with her for less than a minute when a dark-colored Lincoln sped into the picture. The vehicle struck the rear driver's side of the Mustang and Medlin almost simultaneously, jolting the Mustang forward and slamming Medlin into the Lincoln's windshield before he fell to the ground.

After the impact, the Lincoln continued forward for several seconds, drifting down an embankment before coming to a stop on the Texas 121 frontage road between Glade and Cheek-Sparger roads, Dearing said.

The woman in the Mustang crawled through her car window and ran to the officer. When she realized that Medlin was injured, she ran back to her car to call 911 on her cellphone, Dearing said.

The woman, who was not identified by police, was taken to Harris Methodist H.E.B. hospital in Bedford for treatment of injuries that were not life-threatening, police said.

Adams was arrested without incident near the scene by Euless police. His father, Roy Adams Sr., said late Saturday that the family's attorney would release a statement Monday. He declined to name the attorney.

Adams Jr. has no convictions in Texas. He was arrested by Arlington police on suspicion of theft in 1993 but the case was later dismissed, according to Tarrant County court records.

Grapevine Police Chief Dale Wilkins praised Medlin as a "highly respected and well-educated officer."

"His loss is devastating to the Grapevine Police Department," he said.

Dearing described Medlin as "the kind of guy you'd like to clone, a really good cop."

"This is a hard one to deal with, but we'll get through it," he said.

Medlin has two preschool-age daughters, and two grown stepchildren, Grapevine police said.

He lived in Roanoke with his wife, Gina, whom he married about six years ago.

Neighbors on the quiet suburban street in Roanoke where Medlin lived remember him as a good neighbor and father. He and his wife enjoyed working together on their lawn, according to family friend Michelle Sanchez, who lives three doors down.

"Just the other day, he was cutting the grass," said Sanchez, who added that Gina Medlin often took Sanchez's foster children to a nearby church. "I just found out at noon. I was just in shock. I know Gina would be there for him always. She supported him a lot."

Ramesh Premkumar, who lives across the street from the Medlins, called them "a wonderful couple, a wonderful family."

Premkumar's wife, who declined to give her name, said the two families moved onto the street within weeks of each other in the fall of 2002.

"I've seen him playing with his kids all the time," she said. "He's a very good father."

Medlin was born in Lubbock and has relatives in the Austin area, Dearing said.

He served in the Marine Corps from the late 1980s until about 1992 and was stationed in Hawaii. He also served three years in the Marine Reserves.

Medlin earned a bachelor's degree at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi before joining the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in January 1996. He worked as a game warden, including a stint at Lewisville Lake.

In 1998, he was involved in the unsuccessful effort to capture a wild panther reported in Grapevine, Colleyville and other Northeast Tarrant County communities.

While with the Parks and Wildlife Department, Medlin developed an expertise in identifying and apprehending people who were intoxicated while boating.

He joined the Grapevine Police Department in May 2000 as a patrol officer. In January 2002, he became one of two Grapevine DWI enforcement officers.

Stopping drunken drivers became his niche in the law enforcement community, fellow officers said. He was also trained as a drug recognition expert -- someone who could identify people who were intoxicated on substances other than alcohol.

Medlin had four letters of commendation and no disciplinary actions.

Being a traffic officer is one of the most dangerous forms of police work, according to national statistics. In 2003, 13 police officers were killed when they were struck by vehicles while outside their patrol cars, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.

In Texas, a new law, nicknamed "Move Over," took effect last September. The law requires motorists to slow down or switch lanes when approaching an emergency vehicle that is stopped on a roadside and that has its lights flashing.

Remembering Darren Medlin

Visitation for Darren Medlin, a Grapevine police officer who was killed in the line of duty Saturday, will be from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. today at Lucas & Martin Funeral Home, 2000 W. College St., Grapevine.

The funeral will be at 1 p.m. Monday at First Baptist Church of Grapevine, 301 E. Texas St.

Burial will be at 3 p.m. at Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery, 2000 Mountain Creek Parkway in Dallas.

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DO you think he will get the death penalty if convicted? It is Texas after all. I'm not sure how they work it "intoxicated manslaghter". Ya know that is just tragic. Be safe ladies and gents- be safe! thanks again for all of u who are risking your lives out there!
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