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(Enlarge) Officer Jason Simons, 32, died from injuries sustained when his Chevy pickup overturned Thursday afternoon. Simons was on his way to work at the Towson precinct. (Photo courtesy of Baltimore County Police Department)

At age 32, Detective Jason Simons of Hampstead already had earned a distinction among his fellow officers in the Baltimore County Police Department.

He was, in a phrase, “the best.”

Those officers in his Towson precinct are now mourning Simons’ death after his truck ran off a wet northern Baltimore County road Thursday as the detective was driving to work.

Simons’ immediate supervisor in the Towson Investigative Services Unit, Sgt. Chad Rosay, an 11-year veteran of the force, said Simons was the best investigator he knew.

Simons grew up in Westminster and was a 1995 North Carroll High School graduate. He was married with a 6-year-old son.

Simons, who investigated robberies in Towson, was “made for the job” and extremely skilled at solving cases, Rosay said.

“The clearance rate just skyrocketed when he came up here,” Rosay said.

His fellow officers described Simons as "highly decorated," pointing out that he won numerous awards, including an Officer of the Year award for the state.

Simons, a seven-year veteran of the department, was involved in a crash at 1:41 p.m. in the 3500 block of Black Rock Road. He was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center, police said. He was laid to rest Tuesday.

Crash investigators said their preliminary investigation reveals that Simons was eastbound on Black Rock Road in his 1998 Chevy S-10 pickup on his way to work.

He was approaching a sharp turn on the wet road when he lost control of his truck, which then struck a guardrail and flipped over onto its top, trapping Simons inside with serious injuries.

After being extricated by firefighters, he was airlifted to the Shock Trauma Center.

Detective Matt Barnes, a five-year veteran of the department, said Simons’ greatest talent as an investigator was his ability to get nearly anyone to talk with him.

“He could talk to anybody,” Barnes said. “Homeless people, the captains, victims and suspects alike. He could get anybody to do anything. He could get a guy with a handgun in his back pocket to consent to be searched. … He’d see a guy he had locked up and stop and shoot the breeze with him. Even guys he had arrested liked him.”

When robberies were slow, Simons would turn his attention to other types of cases.

“He was clearing other stuff,” Barnes said. “He helped everyone in the precinct.”

Detective Rich Bankert, a 13-year veteran of the force, said the members of the close-knit investigative unit don’t quite know how to react to the news of Simons’ death.

“I don’t think it’s really hit us,” he said. “It’s still kind of surreal.”

Bankert described his fellow officer as “very charismatic” and Rosay said he never once saw Simons in a bad mood.

“He’s one of those people that people want to be around,” Rosay said.

The supervisor said that Simons has recently gotten into running and had probably gone for a run earlier in the day before the crash. He had dropped a lot of weight and was eating better.

He enjoyed hunting and fishing, loved his wife, Melissa, was an expert on landscaping, and constantly talked about watching his son, Jackson, play soccer, the officers said.

The officers said that Simons’ death will impact many citizens in Baltimore County, whether they knew him or not.

“It’s going to be a great loss for the people of Baltimore, people that never even met him,” Bankert said. “He cleared so many cases.”

The officers said they hope to collect donations for Simons’ wife and son.

Donations can be mailed to c/o Melissa Simons, Investigative Services Unit, 115 W. Susquehanna Ave., Towson MD  21204.

This story has been updated.


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