Police officer killed in Heeney cycle accident fondly remembered
Summit Daily News
Fellow police officers and community members on Monday mourned the death of Dillon police officer Jim Schaffer, 58, who died Sunday afternoon after being ejected from his motorcycle on Heeney Road.
“Jim was a very big part of not just the police community but the community at large, and truly practiced the philosophy of community policing and treating people with dignity and respect,” Dillon police chief Joe Wray said.
According to a press release from the Summit County Coroner’s Office, Schaffer was traveling northbound on Heeney Road just before noon Sunday when the road turned to gravel and he locked up his brakes. He skidded 77 feet and struck a delineator post, and was ejected. His motorcycle landed on top of him.
He was not wearing a helmet and died of chest and head injuries, the coroner reported.
Schaffer was flown to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Lakewood and pronounced dead at 4:48 p.m. His wife, Kathy, was at his side and his family was able to say good-bye to him, Dillon spokeswoman Susan Fairweather said.
Originally from Chicago, Schaffer was born Feb. 27, 1953. He and Kathy were married 29 years, and would have celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary this October. The couple moved to Summit County in the early 1990s before moving to Scotland – where Kathy is from – for three years. They returned to Summit in 1995. Schaffer worked as a detentions deputy for the Summit County Sheriff’s Department from 2000 to 2010 before joining the Dillon police force in May of 2010.
“The number of calls and drop-ins of sympathy and support have been very overwhelming and appreciated,” Wray said. “It just goes to show that we are a small community where people do come together during these times and that we do care about each other here in Summit County.”
Schaffer also leaves behind his mother, Marci Potyrala, his father, Jim Schaffer, a brother, Alan Schaffer, two children, Heather Graves and Tabatha Widdicomb, two stepchildren, five grandchildren, a stepmother, stepfather, and two sons-in-law.
In lieu of food or flowers, Schaffer’s family is requesting the public donate to Jim’s Junior Badge Fund, a program he was in the process of launching to get Town of Dillon junior police badges to children. He wanted kids to have a positive impression of law enforcement.
“Jim’s passion was public service to our children,” Fairweather said. “He’s one of the good guys. He will be sorely missed.”
Sept. 7 funeral
A funeral will be held 11 a.m. Sept. 7 at the Dillon Amphiteatre. A procession of immediate family, law enforcement and first responders will leave the Breckenridge Ice Rink at 10 a.m. and pass the sheriff’s office in Breckenridge, proceed down Airport Road past the Breckenridge Police Department, down Hwy. 9 to the Dillon Dam Road before heading to the Silverthorne Police Department using Rainbow Drive. The procession will then continue to Lake Dillon Drive, past the Dillon Police Department, before arriving at the amphitheatre.
Fairweather anticipates the procession will arrive at 10:45; the service starts at 11 a.m.
All first responders who would like to take part in the procession are encouraged to show up at the ice rink no later than 9:30 a.m. A large crowd is anticipated at the amphitheatre, so Fairweather encourages attendees to show up early.
Donations can be sent to the Town of Dillon, Attn: Jim’s Junior Badge Fund, P.O. Box 8, Dillon, CO 80435.
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