New Bloomfield police officer Michael Tufts dies

Tufts, 25, was in a coma since a drunk driver hit him December 2012.

COLUMBIA, Mo. - Michael Tufts, the New Bloomfield police officer involved in a deadly drunk driving crash in December 2012, died Saturday night in Columbia.

Tufts was 25.

Patricia Tufts, Michael's mother, told ABC 17 News her son passed away while in a coma around 11 p.m. at Southampton Nursing Home. Tufts suffered the coma when a drunk driver hit his truck, killing Tufts' passenger Michelle Morrow on Providence Road in Columbia.

The driver, Spencer Gordon, pleaded guilty to one count of involuntary manslaughter and two counts of second-degree assault in March. The court charged Gordon with second-degree assault for Tufts' injuries. That charge will not be changed to involuntary manslaughter because of Tufts' death.

Tufts worked for the New Bloomfield Police Department for four months. Patricia Tufts described her son as a "country boy", and would have never guessed how much the police force meant to him.

"I saw a side of my son I never knew," she said about the day the New Bloomfield Police Department accepted him.

New Bloomfield Police Chief Christopher Hammann said Tufts will be buried in his uniform.

Chief Hammann said he is working on securing a police escort for Tufts from Columbia to the Tufts family's burial plot in Bellefontaine, near St. Louis.

"Officer Tufts had always wanted to be a police officer and was very proactive in the community that he served," Chief Hammann said in a written statement. "Officer Tufts was an excellent officer and it was a privilege to serve with him as he performed his duties."

Patricia Tufts said the family will hold a celebration of life service at Memorial Funeral Home in Columbia Friday from 4-8 p.m. A service will be held at the same place from 9-11 a.m. Saturday, before Michael Tufts is buried.

(Editor's note: The headline was changed from "New Bloomfield police officer Michael Tufts dies Saturday" to remove the reference to the day in which Michael Tufts passed away.)

(Editor's note, 8:32 p.m.: A quote from New Bloomfield Police Chief Christopher Hammann is added.)

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