Tennessee officials say an officer who graduated from the police academy last month has been killed by a hit-and-run driver while checking on a hazard in a roadway.
A statement from the Chattanooga Police Department says 38-year-old Nicholas Galinger was struck Saturday night while on a call with his field training officer. He was outside the patrol vehicle when a passing SUV hit him.
Police say Galinger was taken to a hospital but died from his injuries.
Chattanooga police have been searching for the driver of a 2017 or 2018 Honda CR-V; on Sunday, they reportedly found a vehicle matching this description but have been unable to contact or locate the owner.
Galinger was a native of the Greater Cincinnati region and a graduate of Clermont Northeastern High School. His uncle, a retired captain with the New Richmond Fire Department, still lives in the area and plans to bring his nephew home for his burial.
"Being a police officer was a lifelong dream, and that dream has been cut short," said Eric Mace, Galinger's uncle. "He lived for his kids, and he lived to be a police officer."
Galinger will be buried at Mount Moriah Cemetery in Union Township. Mace is working with local authorities to ensure Galinger receives a local ceremony with full honors.
Galinger graduated from the police academy on Jan. 24.
Chattanooga Police Chief David Roddy says the community “lost not just an officer. We lost a son, a father, a friend and a protector.”