BILLERICA, MASS. (WHDH) - A Billerica police officer died after he was struck by an excavator at a construction site Friday afternoon, officials said.

Sergeant Ian Taylor, 49, was helping to direct a tractor-trailer around a construction site shortly before 2 p.m., when an excavator struck him while it was backing up, Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan said at a news conference Friday evening.

Taylor was taken to Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington where he died from his injuries, she said.

“He is an unbelievable police officer. We were lucky to grab him and have him work with us since 2011. He’s been here for 12 years,” Billerica Police Chief Roy Frost said at the conference. “Sergeant Taylor has done a lot for this community, for the community of Billerica and for the region.”

Taylor was assigned to the Substance Abuse Prevention Committee in Billerica and would frequently meet with people suffering from opiate abuse to find ways to help them, Frost said.

“He’s helped so many people. He has saved so many people. His life had impact. It had meaning,” Frost said.

WATCH: Police Chief Roy Frost and District Attorney Marian T. Ryan hold press conference

The incident happened on Route 3A near the roadway’s intersection with Angie Road. Route 3A was closed in both directions as of around 3 p.m., according to MassDOT

SKY7-HD flying over the scene near 3:15 p.m. spotted a tractor trailer surrounded by caution tape. Debris was also visible in the road. 

Billerica police were on scene alongside Massachusetts State Police, detectives from the Middlesex County District Attorney’s office, and other emergency personnel.

A large police presence was visible outside the hospital Friday afternoon.

Frost said he was proud that Taylor worked for him.

“He loved, loved helping the people in this community. He was out today on a beautiful day in Billerica, it was beautiful out, and he was happy,” Frost said. “I saw him before this tragedy and he was happy.”

Billerica Town Manager John C. Curran paid tribute to Taylor in a Facebook post Friday night.

“Ian was first and foremost one of the kindest people all of us had the good fortune to know,” Curran wrote. “He was an exceptionally knowledgeable veteran of the police department that brought a passion to the job that undoubtedly resulted in helping to make people’s lives better and even saving lives.”

The flags at Billerica Town Hall were flying at half-staff and flowers were placed at the town’s police officers memorial.

Courtney Smith, who works down the street from the construction site, was one of the people who brought flowers. She didn’t know Taylor, but wanted to pay her respects.

“Tragedy that you don’t expect, you know. This was a routine detail,” Smith said. “The officers here are amazing in town, so anything we can do to show our gratitude.”

The State Police accident reconstruction team is investigating the incident. Everyone involved has been fully cooperative, Ryan said. An investigation will also be conducted by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

No further information was immediately available.

This is a developing story; stay with 7NEWS on-air and online for the latest updates.

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