A 13-year veteran of the Baltimore Police Department died early Monday after he apparently suffered a heart attack while driving from his home in Baltimore County to a court appearance, according to city officials.

Officer Robert W. Peregoy, 47, had been assigned to the Violent Crime Impact Division, He is survived by his wife of 27 years and three sons.

He was born in Gettysburg, Pa., and graduated from Francis Scott Key High School in 1980. He earned 18 credits from Central Texas College and served in the Army until 1995, when he was honorably discharged as a military police officer stationed in Germany. That is where he met his wife before moving to Baltimore.

"He loved his job and did it well," friend and neighbor William M. Hackley, a retired city officer and the department's unofficial historian, wrote in an e-mail. "Wayne had a gruff and cynical attitude but went above and beyond in whatever he did."

Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Peregoy was on his way into court Monday about 8 a.m. when he apparently became ill while driving south on Interstate 795 toward the city.

Maryland State Police Lt. James DeWees, commander of the Golden Ring Barracks, said several motorists called 911 to report a newer-model gray Chevrolet pickup truck "traveling slowly on the shoulder and that the operator appeared to be in distress."

DeWees said the pickup glanced off a center barrier before coming to a stop in the median near Owings Mills Boulevard. He said a trooper and an ambulance arrived and took Peregoy, who was slumped over the steering wheel, to Northwest Hospital Center, where he was pronounced dead at 10:13 a.m.

"We were all a little shocked," DeWees said. "Whenever troopers show up at something like this, it's stressful. When we find out it's a law enforcement officer, it hits a little closer to home."

Funeral arrangements have not been made.

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