State Police at the Brighton post identified the victim as Hamburg Township Police Sgt. James (Jim) Sanderson, a 20-year veteran of the department who worked as road patrol sergeant and then served one year as an undercover narcotics officer with the Livingston and Washtenaw Narcotics Enforcement Team. At the time of his death, Sanderson was on assignment with a Drug Enforcement Administration task force.
"Everyone is really devastated; people are in tears," Hamburg Police Chief Richard Duffany said. "He was a great cop. He was a great father to his son. ... That's where our thoughts are, with his son, Nick."
Livingston County Sheriff Bob Bezotte, who has known Sanderson for 20 years, said, "He was a great ambassador for law enforcement."
State Police Sgt. Michael Sura said Sanderson was riding a 2014 Harley-Davidson motorcycle west on Figurski Drive and was making a right turn onto northbound Latson Road around 5:45 a.m. when he was struck by a Chevrolet Trailblazer as it attempted to turn left from southbound Latson Road.
Sura said preliminary analysis indicates that "the point of collision occurred when the Trailblazer came into Sgt. Sanderson's lane of travel."
Witnesses said the impact catapulted the motorcyclist at least 30 feet and he landed near a sidewalk. The sergeant was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Trailblazer driver, identified only as a Howell area man, was not injured and was taken into police custody for driving on a suspended license.
Prosecutor William Vailliencourt said the driver was released "pending receipt and review of the appropriate investigative reports. This is a tragic loss to the law enforcement community in Livingston County. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the officer's family."
Hamburg Township Police Department
End of Watch:
Friday, September 26, 2014