PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Officer Clayton Townsend left behind a wife and 10-month-old son, and dozens of friends who say he was full of energy, loyal and humble. 

"It was just always good to see him every time we'd run calls together and he just always had a good attitude towards everything," said Dylan Bryan, a firefighter with the Salt River Fire Department said.  

[ORIGINAL STORY: DPS: Driver was texting when he hit, killed Salt River officer on Loop 101 in Scottsdale]

Townsend served in the Salt River Police Department for five years. 

On Tuesday, Townsend was conducting a traffic stop on northbound Loop 101 near McDowell Road when another car hit him. According to DPS, the driver of that car, Jerry Sanstead, admitted to investigators that he was texting at the time of the crash. 

[WATCH: Jerry Sanstead's initial court appearance]

"Always keep your eyes on the road. A text message is just not worth it. Clayton had a family, he had a future in the police service, or wherever life would've taken him. He was such a good person. It could happen to anybody. It's just not worth it," Bryan said. 

Bryan said Townsend always wanted to serve the community and initially started training to become a firefighter. 

[RELATED: Arizona's Family to host phone bank for fallen Salt River officer]

"Clayton Townsend, he was a hard worker, he was dedicated to his job, he was dedicated to the community he served," said Bryan. "It's just scary that you know, at the blink of an eye, something could happen." 

"It was just devastating, you do not want to hear about a friend that has been hurt, killed in the line of duty. My heart goes out to him," said Collin Madeya, a firefighter for the Phoenix Fire Department. 

Madeya also went to school with Townsend. 

"I knew he always wanted to be in public service, growing up he always wanted to help other people. That's just the type of person Clayton was," said Madeya. 

Madeya said as soon as he heard that a Salt River Police officer was killed, he immediately thought of Townsend and texted him, asking if he was okay. 

"I never thought it'd be him. I never thought it'd be any of my friends. You go in the line of work of public service and you never think it's gonna be someone you know, but it is," Madeya said. 

The Salt River Police Department opened a memorial fund to benefit Officer Townsend's family.

Donations can be made to the Clayton Townsend Benefit Memorial Fund through Wells Fargo Bank account number: 3535835825.

 


Copyright 2019 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

 

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