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Michigan trooper dies on duty, leaves behind wife and young daughter

Michigan State Police confirm an on-duty trooper died after a driver hit two patrol vehicles and the state trooper Wednesday night.
Crime Scene
Posted at 5:39 AM, Jan 25, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-25 06:39:27-05

LANSING, MICH. (NBC 26) — A Michigan State Trooper is dead after he was hit by a man who collided with him and two patrol vehicles Wednesday night.

Michigan State Police confirm the on-duty death of Trooper Joel Popp of the Tri-City Post.

“This is a message none of us wishes to deliver. With a very heavy heart I confirm the death of one of our own, Tpr. Joel Popp,” stated Col. James F. Grady II, director of the MSP. “I ask that you please keep his family, fellow troopers and all whose lives he has touched in your thoughts.”

Authorities say Trooper Popp and other troopers were investigating a suspected impaired driver who was stopped on northbound Interstate 75 near Birch Run in a curved portion of the road Wednesday night.

Another driver, an 81-year-old man, hit two patrol cruisers and Popp, who was outside his patrol vehicle.

Popp was taken to Hurley Medical Center where he died.

The other driver had serious injuries but is expected to survive.   

Popp, 39, enlisted with the MSP in January of 2020, graduating as a member of the 137th Trooper Recruit School.

He has served at the Tri-City Post his entire career.

Popp is survived by his wife Stefanie and a young daughter.

The MSP wishes to acknowledge our many police partners and emergency responders who assisted at the scene and who continue to provide support to our department during this difficult time.

We also want to thank the staff and medical professionals at Hurley Medical Center for their care and compassion. 

Popp is the 56th Michigan State Trooper to be killed in the line of duty.