Her cruiser burst into flames after it was hit by an MSD Semi truck under the Belvedere.
Despite the cold, hundreds lined the streets of Louisville Saturday to honor the detective–remembered for her compassion and sacrifice.
A line of police cars was parked outside of the OD White and Sons Funeral Home Saturday morning.
Their flashing lights might have been a reminder of the heartbreak that lead to the procession, but they were also a symbol of something else.
“Her family definitely needs our support,” Bonnie Hanson, whose husband works for the LMPD, said. “So does the LMPD family.”
Family–by blood and blue–gathered at four different stops along the route, but so did many others with no relation to the family or LMPD at all.
“It’s kind of beautiful to see,” Amanda Van Epps, who was watching the procession with her husband, said.
At each part of the route, messages of love from total strangers could be read on homemade signs, some in the hands of people holding back tears, as the casket carrying Mengadoht, draped in an American flag began it’s journey.
The 32-year-old detective’s family was brought to tears as the procession arrived at the home of her grandfather, who she was close too.
He moved quickly to the hearse and put both his hands on its window in grief.
When it was time step away, he used a tissues to wipe his eyes from under his glasses, as others stood with him expressing the same deep sorrow.
“We hope that there’s a peace that comes,” Van Epps said.
The group of cars had just come from the LMPD Second Division station.
It’s a place Mengadoht spent many hours working. Those still on duty there gave her a final salute in her home beat and placed red roses, one-by-one, on the hood of the car that she was in.
“It’s incredibly hard because every time you go out it could happen to you,” Joy Estes, a former LMPD officer who watched the hearse later drive away, said. “It could be your children left at Christmas time without their mother or their father. It’s a realization that you live with every single day.”
That’s something the youngest who gave support might not have quite understood yet, as the casket was carried from the car into the final stop Saturday, the Resthaven Funeral Home, between two lines of police at full attention.
But those even just a little older seemed to have a firm grasp of just why they found it important to give a big symbolic hug, to an even larger family.
“If there was a funeral, and nobody went there, nobody would be there for person who died,” Zariah Buckner, a young girl watching the procession, put it simply.
Saturday, an outpouring of support proved that wasn’t the case.