NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Amazing, dedicated, a professional and a practical jokester. Those are just some of the lovable personality traits Sheriff Mike Breedlove thinks about when he remembers Deputy Stephen Reece.
“We’re just gonna miss him,” Breedlove said on Sunday.
Cheatham Co. Sheriff Breedlove: "We're hurting tonight, and we'll hurt for quite some time."
Reece, who was 50, had a long career with the Metro Nashville Police Department before joining the Cheatham County Sheriff’s Office just seven months ago.
“When you met him, you just wanted to stay there and talk with him. He treated you like he knew you for years,” Breedlove said.
Reece was heading east in his Ford Explorer Patrol SUV Friday afternoon when the Tennessee Highway Patrol said he failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of Oak Plains Road and Highway 41A. Reece was struck by a Ford van. The driver of the van was transported to a hospital. Reece’s untimely death, a hard one for Breedlove to accept.
Cheatham County Deputy Stephen Reece failed to observe the stop sign on Oak Plains Road at the intersection of 41A South.
“He would be so mad at himself right now, knowing that we went the way he did, cause you know, that’s not him. He was always so prepared. It was just his time. It’s a hard pill to swallow,” said Breedlove.
It’s a hard one to swallow for his family, friends and law enforcement who crowded the Harpeth Hills Funeral Home in Bellevue on Sunday night. They celebrated the life of a man who had a big heart, for people and animals.
“He had a habit of picking up stray animals and putting it in the back of his car and trying to get them a home and finding an owner,” Breedlove said. “He loved animals and he was kind of known as ‘the animal patrol officer,’ he just showed us that was him.”
Many in the law enforcement community, like members of the Fraternal Order of Police paid their respects.
“Police officers walk out of the door everyday knowing that they may not come home that next shift and they’re ready to do that if they need to serve their communities,” said James Smallwood, President of the Nashville Fraternal Order of Police.
For the next two days, the community can show their appreciation. A patrol SUV with his number 918 will sit in front of the Cheatham County Courthouse to honor a man who served his community with every fiber of his being.
The gifts, cards and flowers will be given to Reece’s family.
Funeral Services will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Cornerstone Church, 726 W. Old Hickory Blvd., in Madison.