Unvaccinated Alabama police chief who died of Covid regretted not getting vaccinated


Buddy Crabtree (pictured), 65, died of Covid on Saturday. He was the police chief of Ider, Alabama, a small town of around 700 people

Buddy Crabtree (pictured), 65, died of Covid on Saturday. He was the police chief of Ider, Alabama, a small town of around 700 people

An Alabama police chief died of COVID-19 on Saturday and expressed his regrets over not getting vaccinated in his final days. 

Buddy Crabtree, 65, was the police chief of Ider, a small town of around 700 people around 100 miles southeast of Nashville.

He was hospitalized on October 9 in nearby Scottsboro, before being flown to Chattanooga, Tennessee for treatment 10 days later as his condition deteriorated. 

Crabtree’s wife, Kristie, reports that before he passed away, he said he would get all three available Covid vaccines to avoid suffering from the virus again.

‘He actually said: “f I get better, I’ll take all three, I don’t ever want to go through this again,”‘ she told WAAY. 

Crabtree had wanted to work in law enforcement since he was 18 years old, his wife says, and had previously served as the police chief of Bridgeport, Alabama, 20 miles north of Ider. 

‘He loved his job and Ider,’ Kristie told WAAY. 

‘He loved the community of Ider, his officers, the school kids…he meant a lot more to people than I realized.’  

While Crabtree left policing for 10 years at one point in his life, he later would return as it was ‘where his heart was’.

He was well-known in the small town.

Crabtree was unvaccinated and, before he died, his wife, Kristie (right), reported that he said he would 'take all three' vaccines if he could to avoid dealing with Covid again

Crabtree was unvaccinated and, before he died, his wife, Kristie (right), reported that he said he would ‘take all three’ vaccines if he could to avoid dealing with Covid again

Wendy Lassetter (right), the mayor of Ider, told WAAY that Crabtree was well known among school children in the town

Wendy Lassetter (right), the mayor of Ider, told WAAY that Crabtree was well known among school children in the town

‘One thing that I absolutely loved was he cared so much about our kids in school,’ Ider Mayor Wendy Lassetter told WAAY.

‘He walked the halls. He gave them high fives and called them by name.’

He contracted Covid early in October, though his family did not fear that he would die.

Even after he was admitted to the hospital, they thought he would quickly be able to return home, Kristie told WAAY.

Crabtree would eventually succumb to the illness, shocking his family and his community. 

Before his death, he told his wife that he planned to get vaccinated if he recovered.  

His funeral is scheduled for Wednesday. 

Crabtree (pictured) wanted to be a police officer for much of his life, and previously served as police chief of Bridgeport, Alabama, 20 miles north of Ider

Crabtree (pictured) wanted to be a police officer for much of his life, and previously served as police chief of Bridgeport, Alabama, 20 miles north of Ider

The funeral for Crabtree is scheduled for Wednesday

The funeral for Crabtree is scheduled for Wednesday

Mayor Lassetter encouraged her constituents to get vaccinated.

‘Take it seriously. It doesn’t matter to me if it’s your choice to be vaccinated or not, take it seriously,’ she told WAFF.

‘I know finding out early as possible if you have it is important, and it is good to seek treatment, and I know it’s a lot we don’t know about it, but we should still take it seriously.’ 

Covid has quietly become the one of the leading killers of police officers nationwide since the pandemic began last year.

According to the Officer Down Memorial Page (ODMP), an organization that tracks deaths of police officers nationwide, 245 police officers died of the virus last year.

That is five times as many officers that died of gun violence.

The organization also reports Covid as the leading killer of police in 2021 as well.

‘Getting vaccinated is just as important as wearing your vest and your seatbelt,’ a popup on the ODMP website reads.

‘Don’t wait any longer, please consult your doctor to see if vaccination is right for you.’ 

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