Connecticut police officer killed in hit and run

June 4, 2010 2:46:58 PM PDT
Police say a Connecticut police officer was killed in a hit-and-run accident in New Milford while riding his bicycle to work for the midnight shift, and authorities continue to search for the vehicle's driver.He is being remembered as the kind of officer who would arrive early and stay late. During the warm months, he enjoyed going to and from work on his bicycle.

"Donald was a great guy and a great father and a great husband and a great friend to all of us," his sister-in-law Renee Duff said.

It has been a difficult day for anguished family members mourning the untimely death of a devoted dad, a decorated Danbury cop. Police Officer Donald Hassiak was killed Thursday night on his way to work. The 41-year old lived in New Milford, and worked the midnight shift. Yet, he would often make the 15-mile trip on his bicycle.

"It was something he enjoyed when the summertime came around, and you know? He was living his life, and unfortunately, it was taken," his brother-in-law John Duff said.

Taken away because Hassiak was struck by a hit and run driver. The accident happened on Route 7, a secondary road, but a busy two lane highway with few streetlights. Hassiak, who for a time served on Danbury's bike patrol unit, employed numerous safety measures.

"He wore a helmet. He had a light on the helmet. He had a light on his bicycle. He dressed in a fluorescent green. This is really a tragedy because he took all the precautions that one would take," Danbury Police Chief Alan Baker said.

New Milford police are handling the investigation. Officers were in search of any surveillance footage. Investigators say they have recovered the vehicle they believe struck the 17-year veteran and they are trying to locate the registered owner. In the meantime, flags fly at half staff and purple bunting has been hung. Danbury's mayor says the department and the city are in shock.

"Being the victim of a hit and run accident makes it even worse. We're confident that we will be able to track down the perpetrator of this crime and bring them to justice as well. It's a difficult time. There's no question about that," Mayor Mark Boughton said.

Hassick leaves behind a wife and three young boys.