WILLOUGHBY, Ohio - A Willoughby police officer was killed in a crash with a pickup truck Friday night.
On Friday at approximately 9:34 p.m., a Willoughby police officer at Lake West Hospital called for another unit to assist with a combative individual. Patrolman Jason Gresko responded to the call for assistance and was traveling north on Harmony Lane using his emergency lights.
A truck traveling southbound on Harmony Lane turned left in front of Gresko's cruiser. There was minor contact between the vehicles and it appears Gresko swerved to the right in an attempt to avoid the other vehicle. The cruiser then went off the right side of the road and struck a tree.
Willoughby police officers and fire rescue responded to the scene and found Gresko trapped in the patrol car. Gresko was taken to Lake West Medical Center in Willoughby where he died from his injuries. The occupants of the truck were not injured.
Gresko, 32, had been a part-time officer with Willoughby Police Department since 2003. He was also a full-time officer with Cleveland Clinic Police Department. Gresko is survived by his wife and 2-year-old daughter.
"Gresko had been an exemplary officer during his time at Willoughby Police Department. He was very active, earning several commendations including Special Officer of the Year in 2009. He will be missed by us all. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family," read a statement posted on the Willoughby Police Facebook page.
A spokesperson for the Cleveland Clinic, where Gresko had worked as an officer for six years, issued a statement saying, "Jason was an exemplary officer in the Cleveland Clinic's Police Department for the past six years. He was a dedicated employee who we were honored to have on our police force. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his family during this difficult time."