On the side of Northwest 16th Avenue, a group of Officer Scott Baird’s family, friends and colleagues lit candles in his memory.

Baird had been with the Gainesville Police Department for about a year when he responded to a call behind Gainesville High School on Feb. 12, 2001.

At about 4 a.m., Officer Baird arrived to Northwest 16th Terrace — later named Scott Baird Boulevard — and found a large metal batting cage that blocked the road. Baird parked his patrol car, turned on his emergency lights and tried to move the obstruction. A driver then crashed into the cage, which then hit Baird.

He died at the age of 23.

Police never identified the driver, and they believe someone placed the cage in the road as a prank.

On Friday night, dozens of people honored Baird’s life as cars sped by the sidewalk where a memorial plaque now stands. 

GPD Officer Michael “Catfish” Cavett said he will ride his bicycle 250 miles during the Police Unity Tour in Baird’s honor. His mother, Kelly Gaudet, remembered his smile.

“Fifteen years of holidays, birthdays. And any time that we gather, we miss his smile, his laugh — and what an infectious laugh it was,” she said.

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