North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

November 1, 2011

Fultondale police officer dies

By Melanie Patterson
The North Jefferson News

— The city of Fultondale lowered its flags to half-staff on Monday to honor the life of a police officer who died early Monday morning.

Fultondale Police Officer David Riddlesperger, 48, was just getting off of his night-shift job and was presumably headed to work out at S.W.A.T.S. Health and Fitness Center in Gardendale, as was his normal practice, according to Fultondale Mayor Jim Lowery.

Riddlesperger’s patrol car crashed through the wall of the gym. Lowery said all indications are that the officer had a heart attack, but the incident is still being investigated.

Fultondale Police Lt. Phillip Mangina said the Fultondale Police Department received the call at 6:23 a.m. Monday, and officers were on the scene immediately.

Riddlesperger was taken to UAB Hospital by ambulance. Mangina said doctors pronounced his death before 7 a.m.

The officer had worked for Fultondale for five and one-half years, and had previously retired from the Birmingham Police Depart­ment after serving 20 years.

“He was just a good guy,” Mangina said. “He was an experienced officer. A good family man — he had a real close family.”

Mangina said the officer was an avid hunter who often took his two sons on hunting trips.

He added that Riddlesperger got along with everyone in the department and was well-liked.

The sentiments were the same in Morris, where Riddlesperger lived with his wife, Betty, and two sons.

Riddlesperger was a member of the Morris Planning and Zoning Board, appointed to the position a year and a half ago by Morris Mayor Craig Drummonds. The board elected Riddlesperger as chairman two weeks ago.

“He was just a great person,” said Drummonds. “He was willing to serve to help our town grow. He was one of the best. Will miss David.”  

In addition, Riddles­perger was a deacon at Enon Baptist Church in Morris.

“He was a great leader in the church,” said Pat McCool, who served with Riddlesperger on the planning and zoning board and also attended church with him and his family.

“He was a very outstanding citizen,” McCool said. “He was a great sportsman, and a loving father and husband. He was very much admired and respected.”

McCool said no one has anything bad to say about Riddlesperger, with the possible exception of a disgruntled driver that may have received a ticket from the long-time police officer.

“No doubt he (Riddles­perger) would have said God bless you and have a great day,” McCool said. “He was very, very likable; a very loving person.”