MIDLOTHIAN — A Midlothian police officer who was critically injured in a crash on April 17 died from her injuries late Monday morning.
Officer Heather Phares was off-duty Thursday afternoon when she somehow lost control of her Ford pickup truck and rear-ended a tractor-trailer on West Highway 287 near Midlothian Parkway in Ellis County.
The highway was shut down as rescue crews worked to extricate Phares from the vehicle. Once freed from the truck, she was transported to Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas by helicopter.
Police said the crash is under investigation.
According to Midlothian police, Phares graduated from Mansfield Summit High School in 2009. Capt. John D. Spann, patrol commander with the Midlothian Police Department, said Phares knew then she wanted to be an officer.
"Officer Phares, true to her word, fulfilled her calling to law enforcement," he said in a statement. "She was hired at 21 years of age by the Midlothian Police Department on Nov. 26, 2012."
Spann said during her time as a recruit, others described her as "energetic, naturally talented and wise beyond her years."
"Officer Phares was recruited by the Midlothian Police Department for her integrity, sound judgment, enthusiasm, willingness to learn and commitment to service," Spann said. "The Midlothian Police Department has lost one of our finest and there are no words to express our deep sadness."
Plans for her funeral are underway at the Midlothian Funeral Home.
An account has been set up at Wells Fargo in which funds will go toward bills accrued during Phares' hospitalization. Donations can be made to the "Officer Heather Phares Donation Fund" and can be made at any Wells Fargo branch.