When her husband left for work that day, just like every time he left for work, Tabitha Hayden prayed he would return home safely.
Brian Hayden, a Choctaw County sheriff's deputy, was en route to assist another officer on a “shots fired” call when the crash happened. He died in the arms of a fellow deputy.
His death is a stark reminder that Oklahoma law officers put their lives on the line every time they go to work.
“When everybody else goes to bed, our husbands and wives go out,” Tabitha Hayden said. “They're fighting the bad guys that we don't see every day. They're fighting the criminals, the people who have the guns, the drug dealers. They fight that every day. We don't know as wives or husbands when they're coming home.”
Brian Hayden is one of eight Oklahoma law enforcement officers whose name will be added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington.
Hayden, 47, of Sawyer, died in a crash April 19, 2012, on State Highway 70 about three miles west of Soper. Hayden and a tribal officer both were westbound on SH 70 when the tribal officer's car hit the driver's side door of Hayden's pickup.
Men and women killed in the line of duty will be honored next month at memorial ceremonies in Oklahoma and Washington, said Dennis Lippe, a retired Oklahoma City police sergeant who serves as chairman of the nonprofit Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial Inc.
The memorials are in place to remind the public of the sacrifice, Lippe said.
“They're not forgotten,” he said. “They sacrificed. They were willing to take the chance.”
The local memorial service will be at 10 a.m. May 10 at the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Memorial, located on the west side of the Department of Public Safety Headquarters, NE 36 and Martin Luther King Avenue in Oklahoma City, Lippe said.
The names of five men and women who have died will be added to the state memorial. Gov. Mary Fallin is scheduled to speak at the ceremony, Lippe said.
Those being added to the state memorial are:
• Jeffery McCoy, 32, of Norman, a parole and probation officer with the state Corrections Department, was shot to death at a Midwest City residence when he arrived for a meeting with a man May 18.