MILLVILLE, N.J., (CBS) – A New Jersey State Police trooper was killed in the line of duty after he was struck head-on by another car Monday night on Route 55 in Millville, New Jersey.
It happened just before 7 p.m. near milepost 22.2.
State police say a man driving in a Toyota Corolla traveled across the grass median, entered the northbound lane and struck Trooper Frankie Williams, 31, of Atlantic County, head-on. The impact obliterated the two cars.
Police identified the driver of the Corolla as 61-year-old Lloyd Rudley, of Elmer, New Jersey.
Authorities say Rudley’s car matched witness descriptions of a vehicle that was driving erratically in the area. Williams was heading north on Route 55 in response to a call for an erratic driver.
Rudley was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
Williams was flown to Cooper University Hospital where he later died.
There is no information yet on what caused Rudley to go across the median.
New Jersey State Police said despite only being on the job less than a year, Williams performed his duty like a veteran.
“Just this past August, with just six months on the job, Trooper Williams rescued a dog that was locked inside of a car with only a cracked window on a hot summer day. Without hesitation, he broke the car window with his expandable baton and removed the dog from the car. He then brought the dog, which was suffering from heat stroke, to a shaded area, pouring water over the its body to cool it down before giving it water to drink.”
Williams was assigned to Port Norris Station, where the flags are now flying at half-staff.
Neighbor Jim Crescenzo says Williams was hard-working and passionate.
“He was all excited he was going to be a state trooper and this was his dream come true,” Crescenzo said. “He had been working at Lowes. I believe he went To Ruters and got his degree and this is what he wanted to do.
Port Norris resident Tina Piper, wiping away tears, says she had to stop in and talk to the troopers.
“I just had to come and give my condolences to them, that’s all. I thought it was my responsibility.”
Williams was a member of the 156th State Police Class, graduating Jan. 29, 2016.
Williams, who recently got married, was the fourth New Jersey State Police trooper to die in the line of duty in the last 18 months.