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Reward offered in hit-and-run that killed cop

James David Dickson
The Detroit News
Sgt. Lee Smith

A reward is being offered for information in the hit-and-run death of an off-duty Wayne County sheriff's sergeant who was killed Tuesday while was out jogging. 

Crime Stoppers is offering up to $2,500 for information in the death of Lee Smith, a 25-year veteran of the force. 

Smith,55, was jogging on the side of the road when he was hit by what Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon said appeared to be a black Buick Enclave with chrome trim and door handles and dragged for some distance.

The incident took place at about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday on Hines Drive, west of Middle Belt, Wayne County Sheriff Benny Napoleon said in a news conference that was broadcast online by 910 AM Superstation.

That stretch of Hines Drive, he said, is "sparsely populated, especially at that time of day."

After the crash, an eyewitness in another vehicle attempted to follow the black SUV, but lost sight of it. Napoleon said "every available resource," in the sheriff's office and other law enforcement agencies was being used to find the vehicle in question. Napoleon said the SUV should have "noticeable front end damage."

After the crash, Smith was dragged "50, 60 yards," Napoleon said. 

"Trust me, we're going to find you," Napoleon said, urging the suspect to surrender to authorities. "Us finding them, versus them turning themselves in, is a totally different scenario."

Detroit Police Chief James Craig and Oakland County Sheriff Mike Bouchard had reached out to the Sheriff's Office to offer their condolences and assistance, Napoleon said. The Westland Police Department is handling the investigation. As of Tuesday afternoon, it had declined to share details.

Smith worked in road patrol, headed up the mounted unit and had a "very, very deep affection for the horses" in his care, Napoleon said.

Smith had "recently decided he was going to retire, enjoy the fruits of his career," Napoleon said. He notified the Sheriff's Office on Friday that he was retiring. His last day at work would have been Oct. 1.

As of Tuesday morning, some 568 people had died in car crashes in Michigan in 2018, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation. 

Anyone with information in the hit-and-run should call Crime Stoppers of Michigan at 1-800-SPEAKUP, or Detective Farrar at 734-467-7912.