WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP | Flags outside the Porter County Sheriff's Department were at half-staff Thursday as officers mourn one of their own.
Officer Phillip Pratt, 24, died Wednesday, from injuries suffered in a crash while off-duty.
According to an initial investigation by Valparaiso police, whose officers are handling the case at the request of the sheriff's department, about 12:45 p.m. Wednesday, the officer was driving his motorcycle westbound on Ind. 2 when the driver of an eastbound pickup truck turned north onto County Road 450 East. The wreck occurred as the truck was turning onto the road, police said.
Pratt was taken to Porter hospital in Valparaiso and later died from his injuries. The 85-year-old driver of the pickup truck was not injured.
In a statement, Sheriff Dave Lain said Pratt was upstanding officer.
"The loss of a skilled and dedicated member of our profession will leave more than just an empty space in our roster. The absence of a bright, compassionate and promising young friend leaves a void in our department’s spirit," Lain said.
A Valparaiso-area resident, Pratt graduated from Chesterton High School in 2006 and was awarded the Tim Hecht Scholarship, named for a sheriff's officer who died during a 1999 SWAT team training exercise.
He went on to graduate from Indiana University in Bloomington in 2009, with majors in criminal justice and sociology. He joined the sheriff's department in November 2009 and served as a patrol officer.
Sgt. Larry LaFlower, the department's public information officer, said Pratt's life and service will honored as part of the department's previously scheduled annual memorial service, which will be held at 11 a.m. Friday outside the department headquarters on Ind. 49.
Visitation is scheduled from 2 to 8 p.m. Monday at Liberty Bible Church, 824 N. Calumet Ave., in Liberty Township. His funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday at the church. Burial will follow at Angelcrest Cemetery in Center Township.
Pratt is survived by his parents, brothers and fiancee.