By Steve Beck, Mike Dunn
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Family, friends and hundreds of fellow officers paid their final respects to a Philadelphia Highway Patrol Officer who was killed last weekend by a motorist who was driving in the wrong direction along I-95 north near Cottman Street.
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A public viewing was held Friday morning for Officer Brian Lorenzo at the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul in Center City. A funeral mass followed.
Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter spoke of Officer Lorenzo’s devotion to public service, and Deputy Police Commissioner Richard Ross spoke of Officer Lorenzo’s devotion to his family.
Officer Lorenzo’s younger brother, Manny, also a Philadelphia police officer, said he couldn’t understand — as he put it – “how such an honorable man could be taken from us so suddenly.”
“But I hear him in the background saying everything will be ok. I will always have the memories of our domino games, late night chats by the fire pit, and kicking his butt in horseshoes. Brian, I love you.”
Officer Lorenzo was on his way home from work at about 3:15 a.m. on July 8th when he struck by suspected drunk driver John Leck Jr. Officer Lorenzo was pronounced dead at the scene.
Police say Leck Jr. drove up the Cottman Avenue off-ramp the wrong way, heading southbound in the northbound lanes of I-95, before plowing head-on into the motorcycle operated by Officer Lorenzo.
Leck Jr. is charged with third-degree murder in the crash. He is also charged with vehicular homicide while DUI, involuntary manslaughter and other offenses. The Levittown man is being held without bail.
Nutter ordered flags around the city lowered to half-staff in Officer Lorenzo’s honor.
The 48-year-old officer had served the city of Philadelphia for 23 years, and was a highly decorated officer, receiving five commendations of merit for superior police work.
The Harley Davidson that Officer Lorenzo rode daily sat outside the Basilica.
Lorenzo leaves behind a wife and three children.
PHOTOS: Remembering Officer Lorenzo
The Fraternal Order of Police Philadelphia Lodge 5 announced an account for Officer Lorenzo’s family has been set up at the Police and Fire Federal Credit Union in the name: “Brian Lorenzo Memorial Fund.”
Donations for his family can be made at any PFFCU branch or other PFFCU members can make transfers directly by phone at 215-931-0300.