UPDATE: Local law enforcement is rallying to the aid of Waldwick police following the pre-dawn death of Officer Christopher Goodell.
Goodell was killed when his vehicle was struck by a tractor-trailer during a radar detail on southbound Route 17.
Authorities charged the long-haul trucker behind the wheel with vehicular homicide. READ MORE….
“This tragic accident gives pause to the inherent dangers of our profession,” said Mahwah Police Chief James Batelli, president of the Bergen County Police Chiefs Association.
Batelli is coordinating food delivery to his Waldwick brethren this weekend on behalf of the chiefs association. He and chiefs in surrounding towns also will provide police coverage for Waldwick during Goodell’s funeral and visiting hours, he said.
“Please take a moment to reflect on the service of Officer Goodell to his country and the Waldwick community and remember him in your prayers,” Batelli said.
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ARRANGEMENTS: Visiting hours for Waldwick Police Officer Christopher Goodell are from 2 – 9 p.m. Monday at St. Luke’s Church, 340 North Franklin Turnpike in Ho-Ho-Kus, where the funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Tuesday. Interment in St. Luke’s Cemetery will follow.
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The crash occurred at 1:23 a.m. on the highway’s shoulder at Bergen Avenue, where a J.B. Hunt Transport Services tractor-trailer carrying produce rear-ended Goodell’s unmarked police car, pushing it into a retaining wall, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said.
The driver of the rig — identified as 28-year-old Ryon Cumberbatch of Brooklyn — wasn’t injured and immediately dialed 911, Molinelli said.
At this point, the prosecutor said, “I’m not going to say whether he lost control of the vehicle. We’re still figuring out exactly why he was in the shoulder area.”
A sheriff’s officer from out of state who’d been headed the other way was first on the scene, he said.
Molinelli’s detectives were interviewing Cumberbatch while New Jersey State Police examined the rig, he said.
Goodell, 32, joined the U.S. Marine Corps after being graduated from Waldwick High School in 2000.
He served with the Waldwick Police Department for five years and was recently honored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s New Jersey chapter for outstanding efforts in drunk driving enforcement.
Goodell, who is survived by his parents and fiancee, “was an outstanding and proactive officer,” Waldwick Police Chief Mark Messner said at a news conference early this morning.
“Our sympathy and love goes out to the family and also to the police department,” Mayor Thomas Giordano added.
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EXCLUSIVE: Amid police protection outside his sister’s home, a Ho-Ho-Kus man this afternoon removed hateful comments about a dead Waldwick police officer from his Facebook page. READ MORE….
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