TORONTO A York police officer and father of two young children died early Tuesday after a minivan dragged him 300 metres, went out of control, then rolled over on him following a traffic stop near Newmarket, north of Toronto, police said.
Const. Garrett Styles, 32, a seven-year veteran of the force, stopped a van for speeding just after 5 a.m. ET on Hwy. 48 east of Hwy. 404 in East Gwillimbury.
Four youths, at least one of them a girl, were in the van. Styles was at the driver's door possibly trying to remove the keys when the driver accelerated, police said. The minivan dragged Styles and then crashed, pinning him underneath.
The driver, a 15-year-old, is in hospital with serious injuries, police said.
Homicide detectives are investigating.
Styles was conscious after the crash and called in a 10-33 meaning officer needs emergency assistance.
The dispatcher kept Styles talking.
The officer told the dispatcher he didn't know if there were any other injuries at the scene.
He asked for help and kept telling the dispatcher that it hurt.
The dispatcher maintained her cool and repeatedly urged Styles to keep talking and told him help was on the way.
Firefighters extricated him and he was rushed to hospital. He was pronounced dead around 6:10 a.m. He was to turn 33 on Sunday.
"Knowing that Const. Styles tragically lost his life while serving the citizens of his community reminds us all of the dangers our front-line officers face while protecting the safety of others. He will be remembered for his selfless commitment to protecting the safety of our families and communities, said Tory MP Julian Fantino, the associate minister of national defence and former Toronto police chief.
Styles was the son of retired detective-sergeant Gary Styles, also a York cop. The senior Styles had worked in the homicide unit.
His death is a tremendous loss not only for those who loved him, but for all of us. In the days and weeks ahead, I know we'll all do our best to lift up Const. Styles' family, and remember them in our thoughts and prayers, said Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty.
York Regional Police Chief Eric Jolliffe visited the cop's family at Southlake Regional Health Centre around 8 a.m.
"It is with deep regret that I advise you that a very competent and capable police officer with the York Regional Police has succumbed to his injuries this morning as a result of a traffic stop on 48 highway," he said.
Jolliffe said the family wants space from media to deal with the death.
"This is indeed a significant loss to police and the citizens of York Region," he said.
Styles joined the force as a cadet-in-training in December 2003 and became a constable in May 2004.
He is survived by his wife, Melissa who works in the force's services information management section 2 1/2-year-old daughter and nine-week-old son.