A former co-worker of Master Deputy Brandon Collins and his wife have built a memorial in honor of the fallen deputy near the site where he died early Sunday morning.
According to investigators, Collins died after his patrol car was hit by another vehicle during a traffic stop on Sunday on US 69 Highway just north of 151st Street.
Collins, a husband and father of two young girls, was with the sheriff's office for more than 20 years.
"He was a good guy and always could get you to laugh at something," explained former Johnson County Sheriff's Office detective Scott Atwell, who often spoke with Collins while at work. "He didn't hesitate to tease you if he saw an opportunity. Some of us, there were more opportunities than others."
Atwell and his wife, Teri, said news of Collins's death hit close to their hearts on Sunday.
"I couldn't believe it," said Teri Atwell. "I could not believe it happened."
Minutes after seeing a post on Facebook about Collins's death, Teri and Scott Atwell got to work on a memorial.
"The sadness that fell over me was overwhelming," Teri Atwell said. "That's when I just knew I had to do something for Brandon."
The Atwells headed out to the accident site on Sunday evening, and put a cross in honor of Collins yards away from where he died.
"I just happened to have the lumber I needed to make this," Scott explained. "I bolted and screwed the pieces together."
After putting the cross down, the Atwells headed to Home Depot on Monday to get more materials. Upon hearing what the items were for, Home Depot staff donated the items for the project.
"I wanted to do it because I wanted our extended family at the sheriff's office to know that we were supporting them," Teri Atwell explained.
Now the cross is lined with white stones and a metal border. Fellow officers and neighbors have stopped by the site this week to remember Collins and leave items in his honor.
"We've noticed that there's been folks leaving flowers," Scott Atwell said, while also pointing out a red Sooners hat that was left at the memorial.
The Atwells said they plan to continue maintaining the site in the years to come.
After the tragic death on Sunday, Teri Atwell said she was glad fellow officers had a place to honor Collins and pray for his family.
"It's a place of sorrow," she explained. "But when you see this, it gives you a sense of peace."
Visitation for Collins will be Wednesday, Sept. 14 from 5-8 p.m. at College Church of the Nazarene in Olathe.
A memorial service will be held on Thursday, Sept. 15 at 2 p.m. at the same location.
A memorial fund has now been set up at Mainstreet Credit Union, available at any of their locations, under the account name Deputy Brandon Collins Memorial Fund.
Tom Dempsey can be reached at Tom.Dempsey@KSHB.com.