Harper Woods police officer killed in crash

By: April Lehmbeck | Advertiser Times | Published August 4, 2015

HARPER WOODS — The Harper Woods Public Safety Department lost one of its own Aug. 3 when Ronnie Karjo, 46, of Macomb Township, was killed in a motorcycle crash on Gratiot Avenue in Chesterfield Township.

The crash occurred shortly before 10 p.m. on Gratiot, south of 21 Mile Road, according to a news release from Chesterfield Township.

Karjo, a Harper Woods police officer, was heading south on Gratiot when a vehicle turning into a gas station struck him.

“(Karjo) was transported to McLaren Macomb Hospital, where he succumbed from injuries sustained in the crash,” the Chesterfield news release stated. “The driver of the passenger car is a (21-year-old) resident of Chesterfield Township and was treated for minor injuries.”

Chesterfield police and the Michigan State Police Accident Investigators are investigating the crash. As of Aug. 5, they had not determined whether there would be any charges linked to the fatal crash.

“The case is still under investigation, and our detectives are awaiting final reports from the MSP traffic reconstruction unit, along with lab results from all parties involved,” Chesterfield Township Police Chief Bradley Kersten said in an email Aug. 5. “Once these documents are received, the case will be sent to the Macomb County Prosecutor’s Office for review. At this time, the specific criminal charges are undetermined pending the return of said reports.” 

Karjo, who had worked in law enforcement for more than 21 years, had been with Harper Woods for two years.

“In that short amount of time, (he) has had a major impact on our community,” Harper Woods Public Safety Director James Burke stated in a Nixle.com release.

“His dedication, compassion and willingness to share his experience and knowledge with our younger officers was invaluable,” Burke stated.

Mayor Ken Poynter said it’s very sad for Karjo’s family, first and foremost, but also for the city of Harper Woods.

“He was really a dedicated police officer … (who) loved interacting with our citizens,” Poynter said. “You just hate to lose a person of his caliber like that.”

Karjo was married with four children.

“We offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Officer Karjo,” Burke stated. “We have already received a tremendous amount of support from the community as we work through this most difficult time. Please keep Officer Karjo’s family in your thoughts and prayers.”

Karjo’s funeral was held Aug. 6 at St. George Chaldean Catholic Church in Shelby Township.