New Jersey state trooper dies of injuries after crash

MILLVILLE, New Jersey -- A rookie state trooper responding to a call for help was killed in a violent wreck on a highway when a car traveling in the opposite direction crossed a grassy median and slammed into his cruiser head-on, authorities said.

The crash that left debris and the mangled cars scattered on Route 55 in Millville in southern New Jersey happened at about 7 p.m. Monday.

Officials say Lloyd Rudley, 61, of Elmer, N.J. was traveling southbound in a Toyota Corolla when his vehicle crossed the median into the northbound lanes and slammed into a marked state police vehicle.

Trooper Frankie Williams, 31, was flown to Cooper University Hospital in Camden, where he was pronounced dead, state police said.

Police escort the body of a New Jersey state police trooper who was killed in a crash on December 5, 2016.

Rudley was pronounced dead at the scene.

Trooper Williams was responding to an erratic driver complaint at the time of the crash. It turns out, the description of the erratic vehicle matches that of Elmer's car.

State police said Williams, of Atlantic County, was a member of the 156th State Police Class, which graduated January 29, 2016. He was assigned to Port Norris Station.

Troopers at his station lowered the flag to half staff Tuesday morning.

New Jersey State Police Superintendent Colonel Rick Fuentes released a statement Tuesday reading:

"A family lost an only child, a wife lost a husband, and New Jersey lost a leader and a role model."

In August, Williams responded to a parking lot in Pilesgrove Township after a person reported a Toy Poodle inside a vehicle with one window open about an inch. The trooper saw the dog was lying on its side inside a crate and in obvious distress from heat stroke, state police said.

After breaking the window with is baton, the trooper gave the dog water and it was taken to a veterinary hospital in critical condition. The dog eventually became stable and authorities charged its owner, a Pennsylvania woman, with animal abuse.

"You would just immediately be attracted to him. Very humble. You could tell he was a person that really cared about people," neighbor Doug McCluskey said.

"He was a happy young man. He had achieved his goals. This is what he wanted to do in life," neighbor Jim Crescenzo said.

According to his LinkedIn profile, Williams' interests primarily dealt with people understanding and being aware of cybercrime.

Before joining the State Police, he was a loss prevention manager for nearly six years for Lowe's.

He was recently married in September.
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