Driver in fatal accident identified as ML police officer

CBH Columbia Basin Herald Local News

MOSES LAKE - Moses Lake Police Chief Dean Mitchell confirmed that the driver of the vehicle that struck and killed a 47-year-old man on Wednesday evening is an active-duty police officer.

Tye R.C. Sheats, 25, was off-duty in his personal vehicle Wednesday night. According to state patrol reports, Gary C. Kilpatrick, of Moses Lake, ran into the road at the 1400 block of West Broadway Avenue in front of Sheats' 2012 Jeep SUV. Kilpatrick later died from injuries sustained.

Mitchell said that because Sheats is an officer, the department deferred investigation to the state patrol.

"There's no reason to believe that there's anything that he did wrong," Mitchell said. "If there's any reason for us to be concerned, then we'll go forward. But there's no reason to suspect that there's anything criminal here on the officer's part. It's just a very unfortunate accident."

Initial reports said that drugs or alcohol did not play a role in the wreck, and Sheats was wearing a seat belt.

Mitchell said Sheats was given a day off but has been on regular duty since the incident.

Sheats has been on the force for about a year and has no other vehicle wrecks on his personnel file. He graduated from Central Washington University with a degree in criminal justice.

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