“That’s how he conducted business ... with the public and with his fellow officers,” Snyder said.
Maples died as the result of injuries he sustained late Sunday evening as he was heading to aid a Bradley County deputy who had made contact with a car which had been reported stolen just minutes earlier.
Snyder knew an arrest had been made, but didn’t have any details.
According to Bradley County Sheriff’s Office reports, Ronnie Lee Market, 46, was alleged to have taken a car belonging to Rhonda Clark while she was shopping at Dollar General Store.
Clark told deputy David Harper she noticed her car backing from the parking lot.
Deputies spotted the vehicle near 25th Street and the driver fled toward the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway and then pulled off the roadway. The driver exited the 2000 Jeep and fled on foot, according to Harper.
Deputy Tim Bohannon found a man matching the description of the suspect who was identified as Market.
Market’s address was listed as Caryville.
According to the report, Market was charged with theft over $1,000, felony evading, three counts of reckless endangerment, evading arrest, possession of Schedule VI and driving on a suspended license.
Maples was believed to be beginning a response to the area where the suspect had been spotted when he reportedly lost control of his patrol car and crashed into a utility pole.
He was taken to SkyRidge Medical Center where he was pronounced dead a short time later.
Tennessee Highway Patrol is in charge of the crash investigation.
There was some question that Maples might not have been wearing a seat belt at the time of the crash; however, Snyder said there was no indication of that and his department would wait on the THP investigation to close.
“Police officers are unique,” Snyder said.
“Justin’s father said that Justin was doing what he wanted to do. His father and family understood his desire to be a police officer and supported his efforts throughout his career.”
“We knew the accident was bad. We prayed God’s will be done. Things didn’t work out for the best for Justin. As we all know, there is a purpose for everything,” Snyder added.
“Each officer here realizes the dangers we face every day. Justin was well thought of,” Snyder said.
Maples was the president of the Fraternal Order of Police, a member of SWAT and a member of the Cleveland Police Department Honor Guard.
Funeral arrangements have been made through Ralph Buckner Funeral Home and Crematory.
Services will be held Thursday. The full obituary can be found on page 2 of today’s edition.