Winchester police officer dies of injuries from crash

Mike Brunson

A Winchester police officer died early Sunday morning as a result of a single vehicle crash near Capon Bridge, West Virginia.

Michael Todd Brunson, 48, of Capon Bridge, succumbed to his injuries after his car rolled over into a parking lot. He was a master police officer with the Winchester Police Department.

The West Virginia State Police stated in a news release that a trooper responded to the intersection of U.S Route 50 and Timber Ridge Road for a single vehicle crash at around 4:18 a.m. Sunday. The 2003 red Chevrolet pickup truck Brunson was driving had run off the right side of the road while traveling west on U.S. Route 50 and ran up onto an embankment.

The vehicle then traveled into a culvert and ended up overturned in a parking lot nearby. No one else was in the car with Brunson, and officers proclaimed him to be dead at the scene.

In a Monday news release, the Winchester Police Department stated that Brunson was sworn in on Feb. 10, 1995, and was promoted to the position of master police officer in September 2006.

Brunson helped to found the department’s Community Policing Unit and served as a counselor for the Kids & Cops camp. He received the Meritorious Action Award in 2014 for searching a burning building for a 2-year-old boy. Police Chief Kevin Sanzenbacher made his own statement about Brunson in the release.

“He was a great person, a great father, grandfather, husband, son, and friend. He will truly be missed,” he said.

Lt. J. Cornwell, of the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office, said Brunson was his first field training officer in early 2000, when Cornwell was with the Winchester Police Department. He said Brunson “knew all aspects of his job well.”

“He was very courteous and a nice man who was always willing to pass on information that he had, very knowledgable,” he said. “It was very enjoyable training under him.”

Cornwell said he recalls eating lunch with Brunson’s family and how Brunson would often talk about his children.

“It was a shame to lose him, especially at that young age,” he said.

The Winchester Police Department stated that Brunson’s fellow officers can use the assistance of grief counselors and a police chaplain. Plans for his funeral haven’t yet been finalized.

Contact staff writer Rachel Mahoney at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or rmahoney@nvdaily.com