The life of a Ferndale police officer who is credited with arresting more drunk drivers last year than any other police officer in his department was forever changed June 25 when a drunk driver crashed into his family's vehicle and killed his 3-year-old daughter.
A drunken driver broadsided the minivan John Cleveland and wife Jodie, along with three children, were traveling in on 23 Mile and Hayes in Shelby Township. The family lives in Macomb Township.
The 43-year-old driver of the other vehicle was pronounced dead at the scene. She had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit, according to the Daily Tribune.
Cleveland’s wife Jodie was trapped in the driver’s side of the vehicle and his youngest daughter, Olivia, was badly injured. Cleveland sprang to action and pulled Olivia from the vehicle and handed her to people who had stopped to help.
Owner of the Corner Clock Restaurant Doug Goad, which is located at the intersection, was one of the people who tried to help.
"We laid her (Olivia) down on the grass, and the nurse started pumping her chest to get blood flow back, and she asked me to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and she came back a few times," Goad told Patch back in June as he choked back tears.
Olivia was transported to a nearby hospital and later pronounced dead. Her siblings, Gavin, 5, Katie, 8, and mother were hospitalized for a week, the paper reported.
Cleveland told the Daily Tribune he’s on medical leave from work as he and his family work to put their lives together.
Meanwhile, Cleveland’s fellow officers have organized a non-alcoholic benefit for the family Sept. 20 at Rosie O’Grady’s in Ferndale. The fundraiser will be from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. All proceeds will go toward funeral expenses and counseling.