Fallen 1996 Simms Anthony

Memorial to Anthony W. Simms

Officer Killed in the Line of Duty
End of Watch: June 3, 1996
Rank: Detective Badge No. ___
Age: 35
Years of Service: 10
Location of Death: 9th Street tunnel, SW




On May 25, 1996, 35-year-old Officer Anthony W. Simms, a 10-year veteran of the MPDC was conducting traffic in the 9th Street tunnel, SW.

Officer Simms was in the process of entering his cruiser when he was struck by a truck. The truck was traveling southbound in the 9th Street tunnel at a high rate of speed, struck Officer Simms and the vehicle parked behind Officer Simm’s patrol car.

Officer Simms was transported to Prince George’s County Community Hospital and admitted in serious condition. He succumbed to his injuries at 6 pm on June 3, 1996.



Officer Simms had been with the Metropolitan Police Department for 10-years and was assigned to the Traffic Division.  He was a Motor Patrol Officer, but was assigned to a Radar Unit on the day of this incident.  He was married to a member of the department.

Articles from the Washington Post – transcribed by Dave Richardson, MPD/Ret.



D.C. Officer Still in Coma

A D.C. police officer remained in a coma after being struck by a vehicle in the Ninth Street tunnel early yesterday.

Officer Anthony Simms, 35, was in critical condition at Prince George’s County Hospital Center.

Sgt. Joe Gentile, a D.C. police spokesman, said Simms, who is assigned to the traffic branch, was working a radar speed program with a reserve officer in the tunnel near the off-ramp to the Southeast-Southwest Freeway and Maine Avenue SW.

Gentile said Simms had stopped two cars when a southbound vehicle entered the tunnel and hit him. He was thrown into the air and landed on one of the stopped cars before falling to the ground.

Gentile said John T. Fitzhugh, 38, of the 3800 block of South Capitol Street SE, was released on a citation after being charged with reckless driving.



D.C. Police Officer Struck by Truck Dies

A D.C. police officer who had been in a coma since being struck by a pickup truck while on holiday weekend traffic duty died yesterday at Prince George’s County Hospital Center, police said.

Officer Anthony Simms, 35, of the traffic division, died of injuries he suffered when he was struck early May 25 as he was checking for speeders at the Ninth Street tunnel.

Simms had stopped two vehicles in the tunnel near the southbound off-ramp to the Southeast-Southwest Freeway and Maine Avenue SW when the 1984 Ford Ranger hit him, police said.

Yesterday, Police Chief Larry D. Soulsby, Simms’s traffic branch colleagues and members of his family gathered at the hospital after it was learned that death was imminent. He was pronounced dead at 6 p.m., police said. “He was the most friendly officer around here,” said Detective Milton James, of the traffic branch. “I know {that} when I came to work, he always met me at the door. He was well-liked in the traffic branch and throughout the division.”

Simms worked as a motorcycle officer and had been an alcohol enforcement technician instructor, James said. He was married to a D.C. police lieutenant, and they lived in Fort Washington, James said.

John T. Fitzhugh, 38, of the 3800 block of South Capitol Street SE, was charged with reckless driving. No other charges had been filed last night.



Heroism by City Public Safety Officers Honored

When D.C. firefighters Sherrod L. Thomas and Robert W. Ward arrived at a burning home last June, a screaming woman ran toward them. Her tiny baby was trapped in a second-floor bedroom. Without a hose and faced with heavy smoke and heat, the firefighters ran into the house.

Crawling past the fire to the bedroom, they scooped up the child on the floor. They handed the baby out a broken window to safety.

“We were just doing what we had to do,” Ward said.

Ward and Thomas were among 12 public safety employees honored last week with the D.C. Chamber of Commerce’s annual Meritorious Service Award. The honors first were bestowed in 1929 “to recognize acts of extraordinary or unusual heroism” by members of the District’s police, fire and corrections departments.

At this year’s event, chaired by retired police chief Maurice J. Cullinane, the medals were presented by Mayor Marion Barry (D), Police Chief Larry D. Soulsby, Fire Chief Otis J. Latin Sr. and Corrections Director Margaret A. Moore.

A crowd of 550 people packed into the ANA Hotel for what organizers said was the largest meritorious award luncheon in recent years.

But the luncheon quickly turned from a celebratory ceremony to a tear-tinged memorial service as awards were given posthumously to a corrections officer who was slain and three police officers who were killed — two of them recently.

Master Patrol Officer Brian T. Gibson, who was on routine patrol and had stopped at a red light at Georgia and Missouri avenues NW when he was shot several times by a man who had been ejected from a nearby nightclub, was awarded the gold medal. Oliver W. Smith Jr., who was forced to the ground outside his home in Forestville and executed when his assailants discovered he was an officer, was awarded the silver medal.

Anthony W. Simms, who died of injuries he suffered when he was struck by a pick-up truck last year while stopping a speeding driver in the Ninth Street Tunnel, also was awarded a silver medal.

Along with Gibson, the other honorees for the gold medal were paramedics Edward Winslow and James E. Follin, who were tending to a gunshot victim in an ambulance when they were attacked by an assailant and a gunman who shot the patient several times and fought with the paramedics until they wrestled his gun away.

Along with Officers Simms and Smith, the other silver medal awardees:

D.C. Fire Department Lt. Walter Webb, who saved the life of a fellow firefighter by carrying him out of a burning building amid flames and falling debris.

D.C. Corrections Department Sgt. George M. Thompson, who saved an inmate’s life by intervening in a fight between inmates, one armed with a home-made knife.

D.C. police Sgt. Yurell Washington, who rescued a citizen trapped in a car in the midst of gunfire even after the citizen, not realizing the sergeant was a police officer, slammed the door on his arm causing injuries.

D.C. police Officer Joseph J. Welsh, who saved a man who was speeding away from police when his car crashed through a barricade into the Anacostia River. Welsh braved the cold water despite excruciating pain in his foot, which was crushed between a wooden piling and a vessel after he slipped as he jumped into the river.

The president’s award, given to members of the fire, police and corrections departments who died representing their department as a result of an unprovoked attack, was awarded to Gibson, Smith and corrections officer Amos Williams, who was killed by a gunman in a shopping center in Prince George’s County.



Motorist Convicted in Police Officer’s Death

A D.C. Superior Court jury convicted a District driver of negligent homicide yesterday in the May 1996 death of D.C. police officer Anthony W. Simms, killed during a traffic stop in the Ninth Street Tunnel.

Simms, 35, who was married to a D.C. police lieutenant, was in the roadway, walking to his car, after stopping two speeders and redirecting two cars headed in the wrong direction. John T. Fitzhugh’s Ford pickup truck hit Simms, fatally injuring him.

Radar in Simms’s car clocked Fitzhugh as going 42 mph in a 35 mph zone just before the accident, but prosecutor Paul A. Quander argued that Fitzhugh probably had been going faster. The defense suggested that Simms was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Jurors acquitted Fitzhugh, 40, who lives on South Capitol Street, of involuntary manslaughter, convicting him of the less severe crime of negligent homicide, which carries a possible term of five years in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for September.





Motorist Jailed in Police Officer’s Death

A D.C. Superior Court judge sent a roofer to jail yesterday for one year in the death of D.C. police officer Anthony W. Simms, who was killed in the Ninth Street Tunnel during a traffic stop in May 1996.

John T. Fitzhugh, 40, of the District, was driving with a suspended license and speeding when he slammed into Simms, 35, who was walking to his police cruiser after stopping two speeders and redirecting two cars headed in the wrong direction. A jury convicted Fitzhugh of negligent homicide in May, rejecting a more serious charge of involuntary manslaughter.

Judge Rhonda Reid Winston noted Fitzhugh’s poor driving record in ordering the jail term. She sentenced Fitzhugh to 20 months to five years in prison but suspended all but one year. She also required him to pay $750 and perform 600 hours of community service during three years of probation.

If Fitzhugh violates the terms of probation — by failing to get and keep a job or by failing drug or alcohol tests, for example — his probation will be revoked and he will be sent to prison to complete his sentence, the judge said.



Coalition Cites Deputy For Efforts Against DUI

Loudoun County Sheriff’s Deputy Jay C. Conner was among 11 metropolitan area law enforcement professionals cited this month for their commitment to fighting drunken driving in the Washington area.

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP) presented them with its 2001 Law Enforcement Awards of Excellence for impaired driving prevention. The annual awards, established in memory of D.C. Police Officer Anthony W. Simms, who lost his life to an impaired driver in 1996, were presented by his widow, D.C. Police Lt. Pamela Simms.

According to WRAP, local law enforcement officers made 15,707 arrests for driving under the influence and driving while intoxicated in 1999. Founded in 1982, WRAP is a public-private coalition formed to fight drunken and drugged driving and underage drinking.

Again, this year, WRAP is sponsoring free cab rides for drivers who have had too much to drink during the holiday season. The rides are offered 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. every day through Jan. 2.

Drivers 21 and older can call the toll-free Sober Ride phone number, 800-200-8294, for a ride anywhere in the metropolitan area. The ride is free up to $50.

Besides eastern Loudoun, the program operates in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and Rockville, Bowie, College Park, Gaithersburg, Greenbelt and Takoma Park; the District; Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William counties; and Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas and Manassas Park.

Since the program started in 1993, drivers too impaired to take to the roads have taken more than 16,000 cab rides. Ten taxi companies participate. For more information, visit www.wrap.org.

In a separate program, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is conducting its 15th annual “Tie One on for Safety” ribbon campaign, which encourages motorists to tie a red MADD ribbon onto their vehicles as a pledge to drive safely and sober. Ribbons are available at various local offices and businesses.