LUBBOCK, Texas – Tuesday afternoon, funeral services were held at Krestridge Funeral Home for Levelland Animal Control officer Crystal Goforth. The 38-year-old leaves behind a husband and 15-year-old son.
Last week, Goforth and her work partner Jon Corder were responding to a call to remove a large dead dog on Highway 385 when they were involved in a terrible car crash. Goforth died at the scene, and Corder had to be airlifted to a Lubbock hospital where he’s still fighting for his life.
Nearly a week later, the crash has left other South Plains animal control officers feeling even more fearful than usual.
“I want every one of my officers to come home safe to their families,” said Jessica Smith, field supervisor at Lubbock Animal Services (LAS). “It’s a fear that I deal with on a daily basis. You always think it’s not going to happen to me or in my town, but that was way too close to home.”
Steven Greene is the director of operations at LAS. He explained how dangerous an animal pickup on the road can be.
“Whenever you’re out of your vehicle picking up a deceased animal on a major highway or the loop, Marsha Sharp, the interstate, it’s a scary situation,” Greene said. “A lot of citizens don’t really notice our emergency lights and don’t pay attention to our safety vest.”
Even though the officers take many precautions, Greene said the worry of sending out his officers will never go away.
“When we’re out, our vehicles are going to have flashing blue and yellow lights on the rear and front of the vehicles,” Greene said. “If our officers are out in traffic like that, they will have on the yellow safety vest, so just be cautious.”
Smith said the community can help them out by staying alert while driving.
“It just takes citizens to pay attention to those lights, pay attention to shields and vests,” Smith said. “Our officers are just trying to do our duties and our job. It just makes it difficult for us to do that and causes situations like the one in Levelland.”