LANSING, MICH. “It is with the utmost sadness that the Michigan State Police confirms the on-duty death of Tpr. Joel Popp of the Tri-City Post.”

“This is a message none of us wishes to deliver. With a very heavy heart, I confirm the death of one of our own, Tpr. Joel Popp,” stated Col. James F. Grady II, director of the Michigan State Police. “I ask that you please keep his family, fellow troopers, and all whose lives he has touched in your thoughts.”

At 7:12 p.m., on Wednesday, Jan. 24, Popp and other troopers were investigating a suspected impaired driver who was stopped on northbound I-75 near Birch Run in a curved lane of travel. Another motorist, an 81-year-old male, struck two patrol cars and Popp, who was outside his patrol vehicle. Popp was transported to Hurley Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries and passed away. The other driver had serious injuries but is expected to survive.   


Popp, 39 years of age, enlisted with the MSP in January of 2020, graduating as a member of the 137th Trooper Recruit School. He has served at the Tri-City Post his entire career. Popp is survived by his wife Stefanie and a young daughter. 

The MSP stated that it wishes to acknowledge its many police partners and emergency responders who assisted at the scene and who continue to provide support to our department during this difficult time. “We also want to thank the staff and medical professionals at Hurley Medical Center for their care and compassion.”

Popp is the 56th Michigan State Trooper to be killed in the line of duty

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