PARKER, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) — The town of Parker, Arizona, is in mourning. This week, a La Paz County Sheriff's sergeant was killed in a crash. On Wednesday, dozens of people paid their respects during a procession for Sgt. Michael Rudd. "It has been an emotional roller coaster for us all. It is a struggle. The past few days have been rough," said La Paz County Sheriff William Ponce.
Sgt. Rudd dedicated his life to service. He joined the military when he was 18 years old. Then in 2013, he became a La Paz County Sheriff's deputy and quickly climbed the ranks. "It is a huge loss for us. He was a pillar within the organization," said Sheriff Ponce.
On Monday, officials said Rudd was hit by a car after a chase along Interstate 10 near the Arizona-California border. He was taken to a hospital in Blythe, California, where he later died.
"Clearly, it is a tragedy. It is a horrible loss. Losing a life far too young and in the line of duty, protecting the community of citizens he loved," said family friend Duce Minor.
Rudd leaves behind his new wife and six kids. Earlier this month, he married the love of his life. That is the last time Minor saw his friend. "I am glad that is my memory because I see him smiling and happy. But that makes it that much harder to accept because the timing is so awful," said Minor.
On Wednesday, he was remembered as a family man, ambitious and kind-hearted. The procession started in Indio, California, made its way through Quartzsite, Arizona and ended at a funeral home in Parker. Sheriff Ponce said his department and beyond is struggling with the loss.
"It is very difficult when it hits home. We go to funerals quite frequently for law enforcement officers but when it is one of your own, it tears you apart inside," said Sheriff Ponce. A GoFundMe Page has been set up to help Rudd's family with funeral costs.