NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A Cheatham County deputy killed in a crash was remembered by family, friends and fellow law enforcement officers at a visitation at the Harpeth Hills Funeral Home Sunday.
Deputy Stephen Reece died Friday in a crash on Oak Plains Road near the Montgomery-Cheatham County line. Highway Patrol said the deputy ran a stop sign and was hit by an oncoming van. Reece was not wearing his seatbelt, investigators said. The other driver survived.
“I would never wish this on any police chief or sheriff, it’s just a sad situation altogether,” Cheatham County Sheriff Mike Breedlove explained. “I’ve gone to many law enforcement funerals in my career, but I’ve never had one where, um, where we’ve lost one in an office in which I’m overseeing.”
Reece was on duty at the time of the crash, but officials said he was not responding to a call.
“It’s more than just wearing the uniform, it’s being a father, and a husband, and a friend, and someone who’s smart, and so full of life that’s just ended. And it comes down to, we’re all gonna have our day when it comes, and his day was chosen,” Breedlove told News 2.
Reece had decades of military and law enforcement experience before joining Cheatham County seven months ago.
“He came in not as an ‘I know it all’ he came in as ‘How can I help? How can I help maybe teach some of the younger ones,’ Breedlove explained, “So humble and so great to be around, there’s no ego… And we laugh, I’ve heard more stories about him picking up stray animals and help putting them in the back of the car and trying to find the owners and some of them that he’s planned to take home himself.”
Animals were his soft spot, but getting drugs off the streets was his specialty.
“He has a background of drug enforcement, in fact, he was able to develop several great leads and people who were willing to work, and willing to help us in our fight and our battle that’s going on in Cheatham County,” Breedlove said.
Adding that Reece had a humility that he admired, someone who dedicated his life not just to a job, but to service.
“We know that law enforcement officers, there’s a certain number every year that lose their life in the line of duty, regardless of the circumstances, and uh, there’s always that little voice in the back of our head that are thankful that, that we all went home,” Breedlove said, “He made a truly great American who just wanted to serve, that’s all.”
A patrol car is staged in front of the Cheatham County courthouse Sunday night and all day Monday for anyone who would like to pay tribute to Deputy Reece.
Government buildings in the county will lower their flags to half staff Monday and Tuesday in his memory.
Reece’s funeral is open to the public at 11 a.m. Tuesday, November 19th at Cornerstone Church in Madison.