The past few days have been tragic for the Bell County Sheriff's Office, as two deputies passed away earlier this week.

One of those deputies, John Rhoden, was killed while trying to deploy a spike strip across I-35 to stop a stolen vehicle. The second, Operations Sergeant Robert L. Pettigrew passed away of natural causes at his home in Lampasas County at the age of 59 Monday morning.

In a news release issued Tuesday, Temple PD's Cody Weems provided more details about the night Rhoden was fatally injured.

Shortly before 1:40 AM Sunday, April 26, the driver of a stolen vehicle entered Bell County while being pursued along northbound I-35 by Williamson County deputies and officers with the Texas Department of Public Safety. Bell County deputies joined the pursuit, and police in Temple were notified.

While trying to deploy spike strips, Bell County Deputy Rhoden was struck by an 18-wheeler near Exit 294 B.

The stolen vehicle was later discovered abandoned in Waco. By the time Waco police found the vehicle, the suspect was gone. That suspect has not been located.

Temple police are heading the investigation into Rhoden's death.

According to Weems, Temple PD was initially going to assist with the investigation. However, since they worked the scene of the collision, officials determined it would be best for them to complete the investigation. Weems reports that Belton police worked the scene as well.

Temple police will be assisted in their investigation by the Texas Rangers.

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