Trooper dies after on-duty motorcycle crash

Michigan State Police Trooper Timothy O'Neill worked at the Rockford Post since joining the force in 2014. (Courtesy: MSP)


PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A Michigan State Police trooper who was soon to be married died Wednesday after a motorcycle crash while on duty near Rockford.

He was identified as 28-year-old Timothy O’Neill on MSP’s website and Facebook page. He had been with the Rockford Post since becoming a member of the Michigan State Police in 2014.

The crash happened around 7:45 a.m. near the intersection of Wolverine Boulevard NE and Belding Road NE in Plainfield Township. At the scene, O’Neill’s motorcycle could be seen on its side in the northbound lanes of Wolverine Boulevard NE while a truck that was also involved in the crash was stopped in the southbound lanes before the intersection.

Authorities on scene of a crash at the intersection of Wolverine Boulevard NE and Belding Road NE in Plainfield Township on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017.

O’Neill was rushed to the hospital, where he later died.

Michigan State Police are investigating to determine what led up to the crash but haven’t released specific details. However, authorities at the scene Wednesday morning told 24 Hour News 8 early indications are that the crash was not caused by a citizen.

A man who spoke on behalf of the woman driving the truck involved in the crash told 24 Hour News 8 she was stopped at a red light when the trooper rear-ended her.

Some two dozen law enforcement personnel gathered at Spectrum Health Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids to support one another following the crash. Among then was MSP Rockford Post commander Lt. Chris McIntire and Director of Michigan State Police Colonel Kristie Kibbey Etue.

As O’Neil’s body was taken from the hospital for an autopsy, officers stood at attention and saluted their fallen comrade. A short motorcade was assembled to escort the body to the medical examiner’s office.

Throughout the day Wednesday, there was an outpouring of mourning for the trooper on social media, where he was described as an “incredible friend and amazing young man.”

O’Neill was engaged to be married on Oct. 7. MSP confirmed that his fiancée and parents were able to travel from the east side of the state in time to see him before he passed away.

O’Neill was from Metamora, Mich., which is east of Flint, but he was living in Rockford. He enlisted with the MSP after graduating as a member of the 126th Trooper Recruit School and served at the Rockford Post his entire career. Prior to that, he studied Criminology at Western Michigan University and went to Lapeer East High School.

He’s survived by his fiancée, mother, father, brother and sister.

State Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, released this statement about O’Neill’s death Wednesday:

“I am deeply saddened to learn of the tragic death of Trooper Timothy O’Neill.

“Trooper O’Neill began with the Michigan State Police in 2014 and served the community of Rockford for the entirety of his career.

“Our law enforcement officers work tirelessly every day to keep our communities safe and unfortunately, Trooper O’Neill made the ultimate sacrifice and for that his family will never be the same.

“This is a huge loss, not only for his family, but for both the community of Rockford and the Michigan State Police as well. I ask that we all stand together and pray for his family and colleagues during this most-difficult time, especially his bride-to-be.”