Trooper killed recalled as ‘outstanding public servant’
Clarkston — For Trooper Chad Wolf, joining the Michigan State Police was the fulfillment of a dream.
“He was determined that that would be God’s plan for his life,” said Jason Filler, former pastor of Highland Hills Baptist Church in Highland. “As a church, we prayed for him. I remember how excited he was in serving in that public service role.”
Wolf, 38, died of injuries after he was struck by a vehicle towing a trailer while he was on motorcycle patrol.
According to the state police, Wolf was hit about 6:30 a.m. on Dixie Highway while crossing over I-75 in Springfield Township, snatched from the motorcycle and trapped beneath the car or trailer, then dragged for several miles.
Wolf was taken to Genesys Regional Medical Center in Grand Blanc Township, where he died Friday afternoon.
“It is with very heavy hearts that we confirm the death of one of our own, Trooper Chad Wolf,” said the state police director, Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue. “Our troopers know the dangers they face each time they put on their uniform, but the calling they feel to serve the public is stronger than any fear. Trooper Wolf will forever be remembered as a loving husband, dedicated father and outstanding public servant.”
Earlier in the day, Etue described the accident: “A passenger vehicle towing a trailer made a lane change, tried to exit onto the entrance ramp of northbound I-75 and struck Trooper Wolf and the motorcycle as well.”
Etue said the 72-year-old motorist from Waterford eventually pulled over at a rest area in Holly and was cooperating with investigators. The motorist was not in custody and no charges had been filed as of Friday evening, said state police Lt. Mike Shaw.
The crash closed the freeway until shortly after 5 p.m., causing a massive backup.
Wolf, a married father of four, enlisted with the Michigan State Police in 2008 and served at the Jackson, Flint and Metro posts, officials said.
His police work left an impression on 14-year-old Benjamin Clark, who met Wolf when the trooper investigated the theft of a firearm at his family’s Rose Township home in 2012.
‘Very friendly man’
“Wolf was very professional and a very friendly man,” Clark said. “He did a very thorough job at looking over our home.”
Clark’s mother, Stacy LaBarge, said Wolf was patient during the numerous times her husband, Frank, called for an update.
“He was just great with him,” LaBarge said.
When the firearm was recovered in a raid, Clark said Wolf went out of his way to return it to his dad.
Wolf had both a quiet strength and sense of humor, Filler said.
“He would kind of gravitate toward you when you’re having tough day,” he said.
Filler met Wolf in the late 1990s when the two attended Pensacola Christian College in Florida. He moved to Michigan when Filler hired his wife, Erin, to teach at the church’s school. During that time, Wolf decided he wanted to enter the police academy, he said.
“He had come through college … he was starting all over in his dreams,” Filler said. “He embraced it wholeheartedly. Once he was focused on it, that’s where his heart and attention would be.”
Gov. Rick Snyder offered his condolences in a statement Friday.
“My heart is broken for Trooper Wolf’s family, his friends and his Michigan State Police colleagues,” Snyder said. “The troopers who serve us every day in the name of public safety are incredibly brave, selfless and honorable. This loss will be felt deeply by the entire state of Michigan.
“Trooper Wolf today laid down his life in service to others, and for that his family will never be the same,” Snyder said. “The first lady and I extend our heartfelt condolences to them. Our thoughts and prayers also go out to everyone at the Michigan State Police who had the honor of working with Trooper Wolf, as well as those who knew him in the communities he served.”
Shortly after the announcement of Wolf’s death Friday, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley tweeted, “We are so broken hearted for Trooper Wolf’s wife & 4 children. He gave his life in service to the people of Michigan.”
‘Police cars everywhere’
Brian Jones was on his way to work at a BP station on Ortonville Road near the scene of the crash.
“There were police cars everywhere,” Jones said.
“There were about 20 at a rest stop and then another police car was blocking the freeway going northbound. Three more were on Dixie Highway and then I saw four more police cars with an EMS unit.”
Associated Press contributed.