Wapato Police Officer Dies Two Years After Altercation During an Arrest
Retired Wapato Police Officer Derek Hanson collapsed in his driveway Saturday and died at Toppenish Community Hospital. Yakima County Coroner Jack Hawkins said autopsy results showed that the 43 year old died from heart failure, caused by a blood clot, hidden under scar tissue in his shoulder which was injured during an routine arrest two years ago. Last year Hansen had surgery on that shoulder.
Even though the incident happened two years ago, Hansen's death has been ruled a line of duty death. Yakima County Prosecutor Jim Hagarty says it's possible that Hansen's death might be ruled a homicide. "This was a routine call for service so there is very little paper work, the individual was arrested for resisting arrest and plead guilty to resisting arrest. If we do decide to do something there will be an investigation, and it will be treated like any other investigation."
Hansen spent 15 years in law enforcement and also served in the United States Army. He was with the Wapato Police Department from October 2003 to March of 2013. Prior to that he was with the Zillah Police Department from 1998 to 2003. A special memorial service will be held for him next Friday in Grandview. Hagarty says there is precedent for homicide charges in this case. Recently Yakima real estate broker Vern Holbrook died from injuries he suffered during an attack last year. The alleged assailants recently had their charges upgraded to murder even though he died several months after the attack.
Earlier today Hagarty, Yakima County Coroner Jack Hawkins and Wapato Police Chief Tracy Rosenow held a news conference to release details of the autopsy and the status of the investigation.