A Grand Prairie police officer known for his dedication to the community was killed Friday morning when he was hit by a car while standing outside his vehicle running radar, according to police.
Grand Prairie Officer Albert “A.J.” Castaneda, 38, died shortly before 11 a.m. at an Arlington hospital.
Castaneda was standing near his patrol vehicle on the inside shoulder of President George Bush Turnpike about 10:30 a.m. when the driver of a Nissan 300ZX lost control of the car and hit him, police said. The officer was thrown from the elevated highway to the ground below, police said.
Troopers with the Texas Department of Public Safety are investigating the accident, and no charges have been filed against the driver, Grand Prairie police said.
The 17-year-old male driver of the Nissan was not injured, and no one else was in the car. The driver showed no visible signs of impairment, police said.
Grand Prairie Police Chief Steve Dye tweeted at 2:25 p.m about Castaneda’s death. “It is with deep sadness that I announce we have lost one of our @GrandPrairiePD Officers this morning. Our department is hurting… our community is hurting… our city is hurting. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers as we move forward,” he said.
“I want the conversation to now turn to the legacy of Officer Castaneda,” Dye said at a news conference Friday afternoon.
Castaneda grew up in the Dalworth neighborhood of Grand Prairie, Dye said. He returned to that neighborhood every Thursday to buy pizza for the kids at the rec center there.
“This was on his own accord,” Dye said. “He didn’t want attention. He didn’t want recognition. This was his character and it tells you a lot about the person we lost today. He gave back as good or better than any officer I have seen in my 35 years.”
Dye noted that Castaneda had volunteered to work Friday on his day off.
SOURCE: JACK HOWLAND, JAMES HARTLEY, AND DOMINGO RAMIREZ JR.
Fort Worth Star-Telegram