Police officer who 'loved the Lord' killed after car chase in Tenn.

MT. JULIET, Tenn. (BP)--A Southern Baptist police officer who was strongly involved in his Sunday School class was killed July 9 when a car fleeing police swerved off Interstate 40 to avoid a roadblock and hit him on the roadside.

The car had been reported stolen in Maryville, Tenn., July 8. When a police officer in Knoxville approached the car early July 9, the two women inside sped off, beginning a chase that ended in tragedy some 160 miles to the west.

Mt. Juliet Police Sgt. Jerry Mundy and Wilson County deputy John Musice had finished laying down a spike strip on the interstate in order to deflate the tires on the stolen Mercedes and were standing beside Musice's patrol car. As the women approached, they swerved to miss the spikes, striking the police car and killing both officers instantly.

Mundy was an active member of Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville, Tenn. Don Baskin, teacher of the "Building Families" Sunday School class at Two Rivers, told Baptist Press Mundy and his wife, Trish, were class directors.

"I've known Jerry a long time," Baskin said. "[He was] an unbelievable guy [who] always had a smile on his face. He was probably one of the most positive persons I have ever been around in my life."

Baskin also said Mundy's faith had grown in the last four or five years. "He absolutely loved the Lord more [just before his death] than he ever did [the rest of his life]."

Mike Willis was a member of Mundy's former Sunday School class, and he noted Mundy's devotion to what was important in life.

"He was a man who loved God, his wife and his kids," Willis told Baptist Press. "He loved his family. He loved being a policeman and helping people. He loved serving his community and umpiring little league baseball games. Was he perfect? No. Did he have problems? Yes. Did he make mistakes? Sure did. But we all do. He believed in Jesus, and he believed that He saved him. He believed in forgiveness of sins, and he wanted to be more like Jesus."

Willis said Mundy, 43, was scheduled to umpire a Little League game Sunday, July 6, but told officials he would rather go to church with his family. That day, Two Rivers pastor Jerry Sutton preached a sermon about death, Willis said. The text was Genesis 23:1-20, the subject Sarah's death. Sutton said, "There is nothing so certain as death and nothing so uncertain as the time." He emphasized the importance of being ready for death to come at any time.

"That sermon could have never been any truer," Willis said in light of what happened three days later. "How appropriate that the Sunday before Jerry was killed the pastor preached on that."

Because of the way Mundy lived his life, he is sure Mundy is with God now.

"Without any doubt, Jerry Mundy will be waiting on us when we get to heaven," Willis said.

Mundy leaves behind two sons and two daughters.

What would make Mundy smile, Willis said, is for people to know that he believed in his children and wanted them not to grow up and be like him but to grow up and be like Jesus.

"He sure loved the Lord. He walked it too. He just didn't talk it, he walked it," Baskin said.

Musice was a member of Immanuel Baptist Church in Lebanon but was inactive. Musice, in fact, was given several promotion offers, but turned them down each time because he loved his current position, according to The Tennessean newspaper in Nashville.

"He had a real good way of dealing with the public," Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe told The Tennessean. "He had good attention to detail. He had leadership abilities. But he always told me that he liked what he was doing, that he liked his days off. And I never could convince him to take the promotion."

His former sister-in-law, Edna Thompson, told the newspaper that Musice was devoted to his family and his wife, Rhonda. She is no longer married to Musice's brother but maintained an admiration for Musice.

"I always said that John and Rhonda had the best marriage I've ever seen," Thompson told The Tennessean. "He was so good to her and to all those children. And he had never failed us."

With additional reporting by Michael Foust.

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