An officer from the Lebanon Police Department who was reported missing has been found dead in a DeKalb County creek.
Officer Joseph Bowen's vehicle was found along Highway 70. Officials said Bowen crashed his 2008 Chevy Silverado pickup truck while on his way home from work.
Police said the truck left the highway, going down a rocky embankment before hitting a large tree and plunging into the swift waters of Dry Creek at Dowelltown. The truck was carried a few feet downstream and came to rest partially submerged on its passenger side
Officials said the last person he spoke to was his wife. She called 911 emergency dispatch around 6 a.m. Thursday to report that he never made it home.
According to Sheriff Patrick Ray, members of the Lebanon Police Department and Wilson County Sheriff’s Department were involved in the search along with the Alexandria Police Department and DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department.
They were able to narrow their search after Bowen's cell phone was pinged in DeKalb County in the area of Nashville Highway and Goose Creek Road.
Once the truck was spotted, search teams comb the creek and used the Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter to search. Bowen’s body was spotted in the creek several hundred yards from where his truck was located.
The Lebanon Police Department shared the information with the community on their Facebook page, asking for prayers for them and Bowen's family.
The Lebanon Police Department is asking for prayers as we mourn the loss of one of our officers. Veteran Officer Joe Bowen was recovered from the Smith Fork Creek, after his vehicle ran off the roadway earlier today. The investigation is pending. Officer Bowen leaves behind a wife, 2 children, and a family that loved him, both by blood and in blue.
Prior to going to work for the Lebanon Police Department, Bowen was employed at the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Department. Sheriff Ray said Bowen was a good officer and will be missed.
"Joe Bowen and his family have been true servants to this county. Joe’s wife, Kim, is a 911 dispatcher for DeKalb County. His father, Dwayne, was a former deputy in DeKalb County before leaving to go to the Lebanon Police Department. Joe has served as a volunteer fireman for DeKalb County. He started his career in law enforcement working for my department as a correctional officer. I then promoted him to a deputy position where he worked in that capacity until he left my department to go to the Lebanon Police Department. Joe was much more than an employee to me. He was a true friend. His personal life and work ethics were a true example of what every officer should be like. My department, along with other emergency agencies in the county, morn his loss and will provide his family for whatever support they need."