Funeral held or Waldwick, N.J., officer killed in Route 17 crash

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Anthony Johnson reports from the service in Ho-Ho-Kus. (WABC)

Mourners gathered Tuesday to pay their respects to Waldwick, N.J. police officer Christopher Goodell, who was killed in a wreck last week on Route 17.

The 32-year-old officer died when a tractor-trailer hit his patrol car while he was conducting radar checks for speeders.

Gov. Chris Christie was among those at St. Luke's Church in Ho-Ho-Kus for Goodell's funeral. A helicopter flyover paid tribute to Goodell as hundreds stood at attention near the site of his burial.

The turnout of police officers was so large, a big screen to view the funeral and sound system were placed in a huge lot next to the church so everyone could witness the final farewell.

Among the hundreds of officers in attendance were members of the NYPD, along with cops from around the state and the region, who realize their jobs are always risky.

"It illustrates what can happen on any given day to an officer. Most days you go home safe, but at any given time something bad can happen," said New Milford Det. Lt. Frank Ramaci.

The officer's family and fiancee followed the coffin as it was rolled from the church to the gravesite. Along the way, officers saluted and the procession went underneath a large American flag to honor a hero.

Among the speakers was Goodell's sister, Nicole Priestner, who choked back tears during her address.

"Christopher, you were my little brother, but there wasn't anything little about you," she said during her brief speech.

The truck driver charged in Goodell's death has pleaded not guilty to vehicular homicide. Bail was set at $25,000.

Ryon Cumberbatch, 28, made an initial court appearance in Hackensack Monday.

Christie ordered flags at all state buildings to be flown at half-staff Tuesday in honor of Goodell, a Marine Corps veteran who grew up in the community where he served.

"(Goodell) was a great guy, a good dude," said Jim Holt, a sergeant with the Utica, New York police department who served in the Marines with the fallen officer.

Goodell had served on the Waldwick force for five years and is the first borough police officer to die in the line of duty.

(Some information in this story is from the Associated Press.)

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