Oxford Circle man arrested in hit-and-run that killed off-duty cop

A day before he died, Officer Lamar Poole proudly showed off his new motorcycle to his fellow officers of the 12th Police District.

He told them about the modifications he planned to make to the Honda VTX. He talked about how it compared with his last motorcycle. His excitement, as always, was contagious, his colleagues said.

"He was a very outgoing person - he had a big personality," said Sgt. Denise Brown, who headed Poole's squad.

On Sunday, Poole was off duty and riding the motorcycle down Devereaux Street in Oxford Circle when he was hit by a drunk driver who then stopped the car, looked at the critically injured officer lying in the street, and sped off, police say.

Poole was rushed to a hospital, but died from his injuries an hour later. Police said a tow-truck driver saw the accident and followed the driver, Louis John Vogwill, blocking his car until police arrived.

Vogwill, who turned 59 on Sunday, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, homicide by vehicle, homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, and related offenses. It was his first arrest.

He was traveling west on Devereaux and tried to make a left turn onto Roosevelt Boulevard around 4 p.m. Sunday, police said. He hit Poole as the officer crossed the Boulevard, police said.

Fleeing the scene, Vogwill made it only a few blocks away, to Harbison Avenue and the Boulevard. There, he was stopped by the tow-truck driver, police said.

An 18-year veteran of the department, Poole had worked at several posts around the city.

On Monday, his colleagues praised his bravery and dedication on the job. He had recently received a commendation for pursuing and arresting a man who was about to shoot another in the face, Brown said.

But his colleagues also remembered him for his warmth and welcoming manner, she said.

"He was very, very well-loved," Brown said. "Even the younger officers who didn't know him very well liked him."

Poole was a sports fan and often went bowling with friends from the 12th District. He doted on his seven children and lived in Mayfair with his wife and youngest daughter, who is of elementary-school age.

"The little one had her daddy wrapped around her little finger," Brown said, laughing.

Like his colleagues, Poole's neighbors spoke with fondness of his ready smile and friendly demeanor. Twice a day, without fail, he would pass their houses while walking the family's dog. They were a distinctive pair - Poole, standing 6 feet, 4 inches tall, and the dog, a tiny white poodle, trotting along at his side.

Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey called Poole's death a tragedy and an especially painful one, coming as it did only days after the death of another officer, Sgt. Rafael Ali, who was killed after his car hit a tree in Roxborough last week. Ramsey said the department would provide counseling for officers affected by both crashes.

"To work with someone every day, and to lose them suddenly - it's not easy to take," he said.

Brown said her officers had been devastated by the loss.

"We've been trying to keep busy - trying to keep ourselves from falling apart emotionally. But everyone's leaning on each other," she said. "And that is something Poole would have wanted."


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@aubreyjwhelan