MARION, S.C. -- A South Carolina sheriff's deput y died in a single-vehicle crash while responding to an early morning call Tuesday.
Marion County Pfc. Michael Shawn Latu was killed when the cruiser he was driving ran off a highway and struck a bridge pillar just after 1 a.m., South Carolina Highway Patrol Cpl. Sonny Collins told news outlets.
Law enforcement officers escorted the deputy's body to a Charleston hospital for an autopsy later Tuesday morning, the Marion County Sheriff's Office said on Facebook.
Latu was named Marion County Sheriff's Office 2018 Deputy of the Year and 2018 Patrolman of the Year, according to another sheriff's office post. He had been with the department since 2015 and previously worked as a 911 dispatch officer in Marion County, the post said.
“'Mike' was quiet with a genius level IQ. He was the workhorse of the department and always eager to help,” the post said. “The void left by our brother will never be filled.”