Beaumont, TX – Beaumont Police Department (BPD) Officer Sheena Yarbrough-Powell was killed in the line of duty on Sunday, after a wrong-way driver crashed into her patrol vehicle head-on.
The 23-year-old officer’s partner suffered severe injuries as a result of the collision, the BPD Chief James Singletary said in a press release.
Officer Yarbrough-Powell and 28-year-old BPD Officer Gabriel Fells were traveling northbound on Cardinal Drive near the Highway 347 overpass when the fatal crash occurred at approximately 2:30 a.m., KTXS reported.
The driver, later identified as 18-year-old Luis Torres, did not have the vehicle’s headlights activated and slammed into the patrol car head-on, according the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Torres, who was injured during the collision, was allegedly intoxicated at the time, KTXS reported.
His condition has not been released.
Officer Fells was rushed to the hospital with severe injuries and underwent surgery.
He has since been released from the hospital, according to Chief Singletary.
Officer Yarbrough-Powell, who was riding in the front passenger seat, succumbed to her injuries at the scene, KTXS reported.
“We are hurting,” Chief Singletary said. “The next few days, weeks, months and years will be difficult for Sheena’s family, both blood and blue.”
Officer Yarbrough-Powell was hired as a BPD cadet on Aug. 13, 2018.
She was sworn in as a BPD officer on Dec. 20 of that year, and was assigned to the 4th Watch Patrol, Chief Singletary said.
Officer Yarbrough-Powell was a newlywed, having married her husband just 10 months ago.
“I want to ask our community to not only keep Sheena’s family and the police department in your prayers but Beaumont EMS and Fire Department,” Chief Singletary said. “Police, Fire and EMS go hand-in-hand. We are all first responders and our paths cross multiple times throughout our respective shifts. So this loss is hard for them too.”
Beaumont Mayor Becky Ames offered her condolences to Officer Yarbrough-Powell’s loved ones in a statement, according to KTXS.
“My thoughts and prayers go to the family and friends left behind after such a needless tragedy,” Ames said. “There are no words that can comfort grieving at a time like this, but my hope is that you know how many people in our city grieve with you. Our entire city hurts when we lose a first responder. Praying for you.”
Ames also addressed BPD in her statement.
“My heartfelt condolences and prayers go to the entire BPD family for your loss of a fellow officer and for your injured colleague,” she said. “You all do an amazing job under the most difficult of circumstances. We do not say thank you often enough. Thank you for keeping us safe.”
— Corinth Police (@Corinth_Police) August 10, 2020
BREAKING: Officer Sheena Yarbrough Powell, 23, died in the crash. She'd been married only 10 months and was sworn-in January 8, 2019. The other officer injured is in serious but stable condition. pic.twitter.com/2vn8ATS9UA
— KFDM News (@kfdmnews) August 9, 2020
Memorial outside Beaumont police headquarters. Flowers, candles, stuffed animals in honor of 23-year-old officer Sheena Yarbrough-Powell killed Sunday in a crash involving a wrong-way driver @kfdmnews @fox4beaumont pic.twitter.com/kstsOMt6XO
— Rocio de la Fe (@rociodelafetv) August 10, 2020
This is the brave BPD officer, Sheena Yarbrough Powell, who was killed in the line of duty this morning when a driver driving the wrong way on the freeway hit her patrol vehicle head-on. Please pray for her husband, family & partner who has a long recovery ahead . #BackTheBlue pic.twitter.com/lw8wgMuKwg
— Jason Hughes (@jhughes_esq) August 10, 2020
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Beaumont Police Department Officer Sheena Yarbrough-Powell, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.