RIO RANCHO, N.M. – A Rio Rancho motorcycle officer who was killed in a crash while helping lead President Bush's motorcade to the Albuquerque airport early this week has been buried.
Officers from around the state lined the sidewalk in front of the Santa Ana Event Center here Friday as the casket of Rio Rancho Officer Germaine Casey was carried out after the memorial service attended by hundreds.
During the service, Casey's teenage daughter read a poem in honor of her father and friends and fellow officers recalled the officer's big smile, mellow attitude, kind heart and his love for baseball.
"Germaine Casey lived life on his own terms: honest, simple and brave," Rio Rancho Police Chief Robert Boone said.
Casey's sister, Chanta Casey, had a simple message for those at the service.
"Thank you, all of you, for taking care of a man who made it his life to take care of you all," she said.
Officers traveled to police headquarters for a traditional final call, then a motorcade escorted the casket on Interstate 25 to the burial at Sunset Memorial Park in Albuquerque.
Casey, 40, was near the front of the motorcade when he crashed Monday afternoon. The White House has said the president, who was in town for a fundraiser for Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., saw the wreck as he drove past on the way to the airport.
The White House said it sent Bush's homeland security adviser, Fran Townsend, and Secret Service head Mark Sullivan to Casey's funeral on behalf of the president. Townsend brought personal letters to Casey's wife, Lisa, and two teenage children.
Flags flew at half staff in honor of Casey, the first Rio Rancho police officer to die in the line of duty.
Casey, a native of Illinois, moved to Albuquerque with his family in 2002. He worked two years with the University of New Mexico campus police, then joined the Rio Rancho force in 2005.
Investigators have been reconstructing what caused the crash. Witnesses said Casey's back tire start to slide before his bike hit a curb and a tree, throwing him into the air.
A spokesman for the Rio Rancho department said Casey had been assigned to the motorcycle unit for about seven months but had plenty of motorcycle experience. He received special training in riding in motorcades and had escorted Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney previously.
A Honolulu police officer, Steve Favela, died when his motorcycle crashed while he was part of a presidential motorcade traveling across Hickam Air Force Base last November.