PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — At the beginning of Tuesday’s Franklin Township board meeting, a new friendship continued to grow in the name of a little boy who died almost four years ago.
“I’ve thought about him and that night over and over again,” said Michelle Harding-Down, whose son, Matthew McCloskey, 10, was killed while crossing Delsea Drive in December 2014, days before Christmas. The man who hit him, a local police officer, was on his way to a non-emergency call.
“If you’re speeding, warn the community, it’s that simple,” said Harding-Down.
That officer, Nicholas Locilento, had no lights or sirens on while driving 70 in a 50 mph zone. He was not charged and remains on the job. During the chaos, Harding-Down says another Franklin Township police officer showed so much compassion that night she honored him with the first Matthew McCloskey Compassion Award at Tuesday’s Township meeting.
“He grieved with me. He felt the pain with me really. And he was human and made me feel that way,” she said.
“To be honest, I think I was just being a human. I don’t know where it came from but I’m just happy I was there for her,” said Officer Stephen Casamassima with the Franklin Township Police Department.
Now, the police policy here in Franklin Township regarding lights and travel has changed since Matthew’s death and Harding-Down is quite pleased.
“Franklin Township has updated it to almost eight pages now and I’m very happy about that,” she says.
The new policy states lights must be on when going 20 mph over the speed limit to a call—whether it’s an emergency or not. Now, Harding-Down says it’s her goal to change lights on policies on a state level as she plans to head to Trenton with her message.