By Joe Holden


ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. (AP) — A steady, cold rain fell as hundreds of New Jersey state troopers lined the Atlantic City boardwalk to say farewell to a colleague and a relative newcomer to the force.

Trooper Frankie Williams had dreamed of being a state trooper since he was a little boy.

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“Frankie Williams was just on the job 11 months,” said New Jersey State Police Colonel Rick Fuentes. “He was a model trooper…a model recruit. He always wanted to be a trooper.”

Williams was killed last week. He was responding to a call for an erratic driver on Route 55. Police say the car was driven by Lloyd Rudley and crashed head-on into Trooper Williams’ patrol unit. Both were killed.

“To see somebody cut down really in the most productive, wonderful time of their life, after being married two months, is horrible,” Colonel Fuentes said.

The hearse carrying the late trooper’s body rolled along the boardwalk, as fellow troopers offered a final salute.

Williams leaves behind his wife, Kimberly, and a mother and father. He was born in Atlantic City and grew up in Lakeland, Florida.

He always had the passion to go into law enforcement.

“He’s leaving a legacy,” said Maura Mastro of Wildwood. “He was a state trooper for not even a year. That is amazing to have that kind of an impact.”

Police and troopers from across the country filed into Boardwalk Hall. The funeral service lasted roughly 90 minutes.

“Just means so much to know that he touched that many lives and that means so much to everybody,” said Alexa Carini of Monroe Township.

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A boy from Atlantic City, with a dream to be a trooper, is now fondly remembered.

“He is a hero, absolutely is a hero,” Mastro said. “The number one thing I believe is most important is that he did lay down his life and that is a beautiful scripture, no greater love has any man than this.”