To hear his boss tell it, Michael Todd May was a gentle man but a tenacious member of the Monongalia County Sheriff's Department in his native West Virginia.
When supervisors needed a warrant served or a suspect tracked down, he was often the first phone call.
"Whether it be calling two, three states or pinging a cell phone and tracking it down as to location, you could be confident he'd get the job done," Lt. Perry Palmer said.
Sgt. May, 41, died early Saturday when the pursuit of a hit-and-run suspect thought to be intoxicated ended just north of the Pennsylvania line with a crash. Pennsylvania State Police arrested Jerod A. Green, 35, of Morgantown, W.Va., on suspicion of homicide by vehicle. A blood test had not yet revealed Mr. Green's blood-alcohol content late Saturday.
Sgt. May worked first in law enforcement as a corrections deputy in Berkeley County, W.Va., Lt. Palmer said, later taking a job with the Berkeley County Sheriff's Department. For the past 10 years, he worked for Monongalia County, most recently on a midnight shift.
"He was a super deputy," said Lt. Palmer, a 21-year veteran of the Monongalia department. "Probably one of the best that we have."
But his diligence never hardened him, Lt. Palmer said.
"He was a good-natured guy," the lieutenant said.
Some time after 1 a.m., a vehicle driven by Mr. Green crashed into the sergeant's patrol car on Interstate 79 in Perry, Greene County, according to a Pennsylvania State Police release.
Sgt. May was pronounced dead at Ruby Memorial Hospital in West Virginia. His mother, father and brother survive him.
The pursuit began at about 1:09 a.m. in Granville, W.Va., when officers spotted a car suspected in a hit-and-run crash 19 minutes earlier.
Granville officers called in Monongalia County deputies to take over when they pulled over the car.
According to the state police release, deputies walked up to the car and found Mr. Green, who appeared intoxicated. He would not get out of the car, according to the release, and drove off.
From Route 100 Mr. Green drove to Pennsylvania's Route 19, turning east and getting onto I-79 going south. Just south of the No. 1 mile marker, Mr. Green's car crashed into Sgt. May's.
"It's not been an easy day for us," Lt. Palmer said. "As far as one of our lead guys, Sgt. May was the guy that we'd go to when we needed a job done right."
Jacob Quinn Sanders: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1586.