weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Wife of slain Nevada trooper remembers him as funny, loving father

Updated August 3, 2021 - 10:37 pm

Hundreds of law enforcement officers and community members gathered Tuesday evening at Police Memorial Park to honor slain Nevada Highway Patrol trooper Micah May at a candlelight vigil.

“It really means a lot to me and my family to see all of the support for Micah,” his wife, Joanna May, said to the crowd through tears. “It’s been hard, but seeing all of you out here today, it helps to know that I’m not alone.“

She stayed close to their two children throughout the event at the park, located at 3250 Metro Academy Way, where her husband’s patrol car has been parked for people to pay their respects.

‘You will never walk alone’

Micah May, 46, died Thursday after he was struck by a car July 27 during a law enforcement pursuit on Interstate 15. The 13-year veteran of Highway Patrol was hit while attempting to deploy “stop sticks” intended to puncture a stolen vehicle’s tires on I-15 near Sahara Avenue, according to the Highway Patrol.

After he was hit, the Metropolitan Police Department airlifted May in a police helicopter to University Medical Center, where he remained in critical condition until his death Thursday night. Metro said it marked the first time a department helicopter had been used to rescue a downed officer.

“I will never forget the moments we shared, like when Micah would show Raylan how his police car worked,” Joanna May said, referring to their son. “When Micah would leave to go protect our city and keep our people safe, he would always flash his lights and chirp his sirens for the kids.”

The father was described by his wife and colleagues as a funny, loyal man who never had a bad thing to say about anyone.

He often spent his days off fixing things around the house with Raylan, his wife said. He read his children bedtime stories from the Frog and Toad series every night. And though he hated being described as a hero, she said he managed to save four lives after his death through organ donation.

“Joanna, you will never walk alone — that I promise you,” Highway Patrol Lt. Anthony Muñoz said at the vigil. “Whether it’s T-ball games or first days of school. Your family has grown not just for this week, but for eternity.“

Trooper Travis Smaka said a memorial service for May will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at Central Church in Henderson. The event is open to the public.

Police pursuit

Before the July 27 vehicle pursuit, a caller reported to police that a man had flashed a foot-long knife at him, stolen his car and driven over his foot while leaving the construction site where he had been carjacked, located near Sunset Road and Las Vegas Boulevard, police said.

The carjacker was identified as 60-year-old Douglas Claiborne.

When Highway Patrol located Claiborne near Interstate 15 and the Speedway Boulevard exit, he took off in the stolen car, driving erratically on and off the freeway to avoid six sets of stop sticks that had been deployed to slow him down, Las Vegas police said.

As Micah May deployed a seventh set of stop sticks near the Charleston Boulevard exit, Claiborne drove around the sticks and hit May with the stolen vehicle.

Claiborne continued to drive for about a mile with May lodged in the vehicle’s windshield. Troopers were able to ram the vehicle and get Claiborne to stop near the Spring Mountain exit.

He tried to grab May’s gun, and four officers on scene fired 26 rounds.

May was in the car and was not hit by gunfire, but Claiborne was hit several times and pronounced dead at the scene.

‘Loving husband, father’

Data maintained by the FBI shows that May was the second Nevada trooper to die in the line of duty in nearly three decades. He was the 12th Nevada trooper to die in recorded history.

According to an obituary for May, the trooper grew up in a small Massachusetts town, where he loved the cold and sledding. In 2008, he tested for Nevada Highway Patrol, bringing him to “sunny Las Vegas,” the obituary said.

“Micah was a loving husband, father, son, brother and friend,” the obituary said.

He is survived by Joanna May and their two children, Raylan and Melody; his parents, Edwin and Katherine; and his brothers, Seth and Paul, according to the obituary.

After the Central Church memorial service, May will be interred at Palm Eastern Mortuary, 7600 S. Eastern Ave., at 2 p.m., the obituary said. The interment is also open to the public, Smaka said.

Contact Alexis Ford at aford@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0335. Follow @alexisdford on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Data offers glimpse of breakthrough risks for Southern Nevada workers

There have been more than 500 vaccine breakthrough infections of COVID-19 in fully vaccinated casino workers in Clark County, a number similar to that of health care workers.