By Robin Rieger
MILLVILLE, N.J. (CBS) – Twenty-three-year-old Timothy Seidel is hospitalized and in police custody at Cooper University Hospital following the crash that killed Millville Police Patrolman Christopher Reeves Sunday morning.
Seidel has been identified as the driver of the vehicle police were pursuing around 2 a.m. Sunday morning when it collided with Officer Reeves’ cruiser at the intersection of North 3rd and East Broad Street. The Cumberland County Prosecutor says Seidel hit a police car and was trying to elude police when the crash with Reeves’ cruiser occurred.
Police Captain Matt Rabbai confirms Seidel took the police civil service exam recently and was one of 10 candidates undergoing background checks.
Rabbai says a letter would have gone out Monday informing Seidel he would not be hired because he did not meet a residency requirement. Rabbai said Seidel had an address in Laurel Lake, not in Millville.
The Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office is heading up the investigation. So far, no charges have been filed.
Police would not confirm, but Eyewitness News was told Seidel may have been drinking at a local bar. When asked if he was a suspected drunk driver, Rabbai said toxicology tests are pending. Some people living near the crash scene said police assaulted Seidel after the crash.
“No officers assaulted him. They did their job. They saw a victim; even though he was an individual who hit our patrol car, they tended to him as a victim,” said Rabbai, who added officers had to break Seidel’s window to render help.
In doing his job, Reeves made the ultimate sacrifice
“You’re out there everyday and you always expect to go home, but there’s that possibility you might not make it home,” said Rabbai.
Officer Reeves left Rabbai with a lasting impression, one that will be missed tremendously.
“Always had a smile on his, that’s how I kind of remember him,” said Rabbai.
Funeral services for Officer Reeves are being planned.
Millville Police hung black bunting on their station and lowered their flag, as did the Millville Fire Company, where Reeves was a volunteer fireman for a year.
Reeves was a 1991 graduate of Millville High School and joined the department in 2004.
His wife, Susan Reeves, is also a Millville police officer.
Officer Reeves was an eight-year veteran of the force.
The Millville PBA has set up a fund for Officer Reeves’ son. Donations can be sent to “Officer Christopher Reeves Fund” at P.O. Box 1142 , Millville, N.J. 08332.
In the meantime, Officer Jonathan Seidel, no relation to Timothy, is also being treated at Cooper Hospital for injuries sustained in the crash. He was in training in Reeves’ police car after a transfer from the Salem County Sheriff’s Office, according to Rabbai.