(AP) A police officer in President Bush's motorcade crashed his motorcycle and died Monday, less than a year after a crash in Hawaii killed another motorcycle officer accompanying the president.
Rio Rancho Officer Germaine Casey, 40, crashed at the Albuquerque airport at a point where a road enters an underground parking garage, said Trish Hoffman, a spokeswoman for the Albuquerque Police Department. He was pronounced dead at an Albuquerque hospital.
Bush had been headed to the airport after attending a fundraiser for Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M.
"Any time there is a presidential motorcade, the officers, that's part of their job, they drive at a high rate of speed," said Hoffman, whose department is investigating the crash.
Rio Rancho police department spokesman Officer John Francis said Casey's motorcycle hit a curb and then a tree, but investigators were reconstructing the accident to determine exactly what happened.
The motorcycle was near the front of the motorcade, and the president saw the wreck as he drove past on the way to the airport, Francis said. "President Bush called to give his condolences to our officer's family and to our department," he said.
Photographers and reporters in the presidential motorcade said the officer's motorcycle appeared to be nearly destroyed, and the officer was on the ground, being helped by an emergency medical technician.
The officer, who leaves behind a wife and two teenage children, had been with the Rio Rancho Police Department since 2005 and worked with campus police at the University of New Mexico before that, Hoffman said.
Francis said Casey had received special training in riding in motorcades and had previously escorted Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney on separate occasions.
Domenici, R-N.M., said in a statement that he was saddened to learn about Casey's death.
"The thoughts and prayers of my wife Nancy and I are with his family during this dark time and we offer them our most sincere condolences," the senator said.
A Honolulu police officer, Steve Favela, died in November when he and two other motorcycle officers crashed while part of a presidential motorcade traveling across Hickam Air Force Base.