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BROADNAX, Va. – The police chief of a small town in southern Virginia was killed Friday night when he was struck by a pickup truck while trying to remove a dead animal from the road, authorities said.

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According to the Virginia State Police, Joe Carey, 58, the chief of police in Brodnax, pulled over to the right side of the road to move the animal, which had been struck by a vehicle, WRIC-TV reported.

When Carey returned to the side of the highway, he was struck by an eastbound Ford F-150 pickup truck, according to the television station.

He was transported to an area hospital and died from his injuries, WRIC reported.

The Blackstone Volunteer Fire Department confirmed in a Facebook post that Carey had been killed while on duty.

The driver of the pickup was not injured, according to WTVR. Authorities added that alcohol was not a factor in the crash and an investigation was ongoing, the television station reported.

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said in a statement that Virginia “has lost a law enforcement hero.”

“Highly regarded for his public safety professionalism and experience, Joe was a genuine friend to so many of us,” Brodnax Mayor Don Dugger said in a statement. “He truly loved his job and worked hard to make a difference while protecting and serving our town.”

Carey is survived by his wife, four sons, a daughter, and several grandchildren, Dugger said.