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Colleagues remember officer killed in bus wreck

OXFORD (AP) — Oxford Police Lt. Dexter Holcomb, who was killed by an out-of-control school bus, is being remembered by his colleagues as a compassionate man who loved law enforcement work.

Holcomb, who died Friday, is the first Oxford police officer to die in the line of duty since 1977, Capt. Bill Partridge said.

"He was a friend to everyone," Partridge said.

Holcomb was directing traffic Friday afternoon at Oxford High School when he was struck by a school bus. Witnesses said the bus driver appeared to have a medical problem and veered off course, hitting Holcomb.

The driver, 55-year-old Mary Mizell, was hospitalized in critical condition Monday at University Hospitals in Birmingham, a hospital spokesman said.

About 30 students on the bus were not injured.

The funeral for Holcomb is scheduled for 2 p.m. Wednesday at Thompson Funeral Home in Piedmont.

Holcomb, 46, had been an Oxford police officer for more than 20 years. He also worked with children at the SAFE Schools after-school program, served as a volunteer firefighter in his hometown of Piedmont, and worked off-duty security at a department store.

Lt. Terry French, who served with Holcomb for 16 years, said his friend was a workaholic.

"If he wasn't here, he was at the school or Martin's doing his off-duty work," French said.

Police dispatcher Regina Jackson worked with Holcomb for 12 years. "He was a fair man, a good man and an honest man," she said.

Piedmont Fire Chief Robert Holbrook said flags were lowered to half-staff in the town in memory of Holcomb.

"He's one you can't replace. There will always be a void," Holbrook said.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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