The North Las Vegas police detective who died early Saturday morning after he was critically injured in a Friday afternoon crash was a 10-year veteran of the force.
Chad Parque, 32, was also a family man, North Las Vegas police said in a statement.
“He was a great husband, father, brother and investigator,” the statement said. “He will be deeply missed by many.”
Besides being committed to his family, Parque was committed to his work.
“This was something that was very important to him,” Officer Aaron Patty, an NLVPD spokesman, told reporters during a briefing after the crash Friday. “He came to work every day wanting to make a difference, and that’s what we all strive to do is make a difference.”
Parque also was remembered as a warm person and a good friend. Longtime friend Mike Miller described Parque as “one of those guys who everyone gravitated towards,” and someone who always put others before himself.
The two attended Cheyenne High School and played on the same baseball team for four years, he said, adding they had been friends for more than 15 years.
“Baseball was his life before he became a police officer,” Miller said.
Parque graduated from Cheyenne High School in 2002, Miller said.
“He always had a smile,” Roy Harden, another friend from high school, said Saturday night. “He was warm to be around.”
The detective’s name was first released Saturday afternoon during the third annual Nevada Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, an event honoring officers from law enforcement agencies throughout the valley.
In an interview, Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo said his thoughts and prayers go out to Parque’s family and the North Las Vegas Police Department.
Lombardo said Parque’s dying in a crash was “a tragedy in itself” but had even more impact because he was an officer.
“It hits home for everybody,” he said.
Lombardo said that when he visited the University Medical Center trauma center, where Parque was fighting for his life Friday night, he found law enforcement officers from agencies valleywide had gathered to show support.
It was a bittersweet experience, he said.
“When I say it was bittersweet, it was bitter that we had to be there but it was sweet in that it shows the support — we’re a family because (these) people understand what we go through on a daily basis.”
Earlier Saturday, the North Las Vegas Police Department had revealed that the detective had died.
“It is with a heavy heart we announce the passing of our detective. Thank you for your continued love and support,” the department tweeted at 3:21 a.m.
Parque suffered critical injuries in a head-on collision with a car traveling the wrong way on Martin Luther King Boulevard about 2 p.m. Friday. The detective had to be cut out of his vehicle.
The preliminary investigation suggests Parque was on duty when he was leaving the parking lot at the North Las Vegas Justice Court, at 2428 N. Martin Luther King Blvd., in a 2005 Ford Taurus department vehicle, the statement said.
A white 2010 Nissan Versa was traveling south on Martin Luther King Boulevard, approaching Carey Avenue, when the 62-year-old driver entered the lanes of oncoming traffic, striking Parque’s vehicle, the statement said. After the first collision, a white 2002 Chevrolet pickup truck then struck the rear passenger door of the detective’s vehicle.
Police said Friday that it was unclear if the woman driving the Nissan was speeding or impaired, or if she had suffered a medical episode before the crash. She was taken to University Medical Center with nonlife-threatening injuries.
The pickup’s 28-year-old male driver and his 52-year-old male passenger were uninjured and stayed on scene, police said.
Police departments from across the country expressed condolences for Parque on Twitter, including the Grand Rapids, Michigan; Chicago; and Knoxville, Tennessee, police departments.
Utah Highway Patrol Col. Michael Rapich posted of Parque, “We are so grateful for your service and sacrifice.”
Friends and family have set up a donation fund to aid Parque’s family through the Injured Police Officers Fund. The department asks donations be made to the fund’s accounts at two banks: Nevada State Bank, account number 905202081 and at Wells Fargo, account number 8754899923.
A public candlelight vigil will be held at 5:30 p.m. Sunday at the corner of Martin Luther King Boulevard and Carey Avenue.
Funeral services will be announced later.
Review-Journal photographer Erik Verduzco and reporters Jessica Terrones and Rachel Hershkovitz contributed to this report. Contact Max Michor at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0381. Follow @MaxMichor on Twitter.