- Associated Press - Friday, October 31, 2014

CHANDLER, Ariz. (AP) - A suburban Phoenix officer was fatally injured Friday when he was hit by a suspected drunken driver, becoming the second officer from the Chandler Police Department to be killed in motorcycle crashes this week.

Officer David Payne, 37, was stopped at a red light about 1 a.m. when a vehicle struck his motorcycle from behind, police said. The impact threw Payne’s motorcycle through the intersection.

The other driver drove away, but officers stopped him a short time later and took him into custody, police said. The driver had an 11-month-old baby with him, police said.

Payne’s death followed the death of another Chandler officer on Tuesday. Officer Bryant Holmes, 34, was riding his motorcycle to work when he was struck by an SUV that ran a red light, authorities said. The 20-year-old driver stopped.

“It’s been a very difficult week for the department,” Chandler Police Chief Sean Duggan said. “We have lost two exceptional and talented officers in a matter of three days.”

Police said the suspect in Friday’s crash that killed Payne was believed to be impaired by alcohol and driving on a suspended license.

“This is not an accident,” said Sgt. Joe Favazzo, a police spokesman. “This is a crash … It was 100 percent avoidable.”

Brian Yazzie, 31, of Tempe, was arrested and jailed on suspicion of manslaughter, endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office said.

A Chandler police spokesman, Detective Seth Tyler, said he didn’t know whether Yazzie has an attorney yet.

Payne was a seven-year veteran of the Chandler department and a member of its drunken-driving enforcement unit. “His passion was to remove impaired drivers from the roadways,” Duggan said.

Payne was also a member of the Arizona Army National Guard, and he served in Iraq in 2007-2008.

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