Summerdale Police identify driver who allegedly ran stop sign and killed Mt. Vernon Police Officer

Published: Sep. 1, 2022 at 5:39 PM CDT
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SUMMERDALE, Ala. (WALA) - Baldwin County prosecutors have identified the suspects they said ran a stop sign in Summerdale, slamming into a Mount Vernon Police car as 31-year-old Tyler Lee Henderson of Orange Beach. Officer Ivan Lopez was killed in the crash.

Henderson was booked into the Baldwin County Jail Thursday morning, September 1, 2022 on multiple charges. The most serious of them is reckless murder which prosecutors said also encompasses a DUI charge.

Tyler Lee Henderson is charged with reckless murder, assault 1st, driving while suspended and...
Tyler Lee Henderson is charged with reckless murder, assault 1st, driving while suspended and ignition interlock violation(Baldwin County Sheriff's Office)

Investigators said Tyler Henderson was drunk and driving west on County Road 36 about 7:30 p.m. Monday, August 22, 2022 when he ran the stop sign at Highway 59 and hit Lopez’s patrol car.

“The truck approached the stop sign at Highway 59 and never slowed down,” said Summerdale Police Chief, Kevin Brock. “He crossed four lanes of traffic and made contact with Lopez and caused what can only be described as an explosion. We believe that Officer Lopez was killed upon impact.”

Henderson has also been charged with assault 1st because of injuries to a passenger in his truck. Officials did not release the identity or extent of injuries to that passenger. Chief Assistant DA, Teresa Heinz said she spoke with Lopez’s wife prior to a Thursday press conference to update her on the case.

“I can tell you that I personally called her myself last night so that she would not be hearing about any facts at a press conference,” Heinz said.

Ten days passed between Officer Lopez’s death and law enforcement making the suspect’s name public. Heinz said that while that may seem like a long time, the investigation is ongoing.

“What might seem to the public to be and open – shut issue, is not. These things take time. It’s not like what you see on television. It’s not CSI. It’s not NCIS,” Heinz explained. “It takes time to develop every fact that we need and determining what are the correct charges for the death of a victim and that’s not done on the scene. That’s done with many manpower hours later.”

Officer Ivan Lopez was in his second tenure with Mount Vernon Police. Police Chief Duncan Herrington said he personally recruited him back to the department because of his connection with the community and said he’s missed every day.

“He was one of those officers that as a chief, you love to have because he got what it meant to be a community-oriented police officer,” Herrington said.

Tyler Henderson will have a bond hearing on his charges Friday. Additional charges include driving while suspended and ignition interlock violation. Orange Beach Police confirmed that Henderson was arrested there for DUI in September of 2019.

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