Marcia "Jody" Frederick had battled cancer for months and was looking forward to returning full time to her job as a police detective with the special-victims unit.
Many of her fellow police officers had rallied to help her, donating their leave time so that Frederick could continue to receive full pay while undergoing treatment. But it wasn't illness that would take Frederick's life.
Frederick, 53, died instantly Tuesday when her southbound SUV went left-of-center on Rt. 142 in Madison County, hitting a Jefferson Township ambulance head-on about 2:20 p.m. The crash occurred about a mile south of I-70, north of West Jefferson, the State Highway Patrol said. She was off-duty at the time.
The four people in the medic unit were taken to Columbus hospitals with injuries that weren't life-threatening.
"We are looking at if it's a medical issue that caused the crash," said Lt. Marty Fellure, commander of the patrol's West Jefferson post.
There were no skid marks from her SUV, Fellure said. An autopsy could show whether she suffered a seizure or some other medical situation.
"It's harder to take when we have seen her work so hard to get back from the cancer," said Sgt. Terry McConnell, a detective who works in the Columbus Police Division's sexual-assault unit.
Frederick found out in April that she had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, said police spokesman Sgt. Rich Weiner.
She recently returned part time to her assignment at the Center for Child & Family Advocacy, where detectives work with Nationwide Children's Hospital and Franklin County Children's Services on cases involving possible sexual abuse of children.
Police Chief Kimberley Jacobs said she had visited Frederick in her hospital room at the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital at Ohio State University this spring.
Frederick had a "tough, tough" job as a detective who specialized in working with children who were assaulted, Jacobs said.
"She had a big heart," Jacobs said, noting that Frederick was eager to return to her job. " She truly believed that she had been given a second chance in life."
Sgt. Jim Gilbert, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge No. 9, started his career with Frederick; they went through the police-training academy together in 1996.
Frederick at the time was 37 and one of the older recruits in the class, Gilbert said.
"She was very proud of being able to successfully complete the training," Gilbert said.
Jefferson Township medics Todd Picken and Richard Forrest were in the ambulance when it was hit by Frederick's vehicle. Both were taken to Wexner Medical Center at Ohio State. Picken was in fair condition last night; there was no condition for Forrest.
The medics were transporting Evan Strauss, who was ill, and Brenda Osbourne, who was riding with him. Both Strauss and Osbourne were taken to Grant Medical Center, where their conditions were unavailable last night.
Frederick was single and lived in West Jefferson, where she took care of her mother. Funeral arrangements are pending.
By Holly Zachariah and Jim Woods - The Columbus Dispatch (MCT)
(c)2012 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)
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