SOMERVILLE, MASS. (WHDH) - The body of a Somerville police officer who died a day after he was involved in a highway crash in New Hampshire has been returned to the city where he worked and was greatly loved.
A hearse carrying the body of Officer Louis Remigio, 55, was escorted by dozens of police officers from multiple departments from Portsmouth, New Hampshire, to a funeral home on Tuesday afternoon.
Remigio, a 30-year veteran of the department, was riding his motorcycle on Interstate 95 while off-duty when the crash happened around 9:30 a.m. near mile marker eight in North Hampton.
“For the rest of our careers, we’re going to ensure his memory never fades from the Somerville Police Department, nor the city of Somerville,” said Chief David Fallon. “There was always a smile on his face. Really a gentle giant.”
Michael Ricci, 18, of Burlington, was arrested and charged in connection with the now deadly crash. He could face motor vehicle homicide charges.
Witnesses said Ricci was racing other drivers on the northbound side of the highway before he lost control and drove his Mercedes into oncoming southbound traffic. He then collided with the motorcycle driven by the 55-year-old officer. Ricci and two other cars were said to be weaving through traffic at high speeds.
“I put that car into park and I got out, ran across four lanes of traffic to get to a man that I don’t know to help in some way,” said Jessica Borkush, who saw car parts flying and knew she had to help. “All I could do was tell him to stay with us. I wish there was more that I was capable of doing.”
Three people were taken to area hospitals after the crash. Officials took Remigio to Portsmouth Regional Hospital with life-threatening injuries, where he passed away Monday night.
City officials said Remigio had always gone “above and beyond the normal call of duty.”
“Louie was a first class human being and exactly the kind of police officer you want serving your community; he was tough yet kind, empathetic, and fair. As a Chief, you always want to see that any interaction your officers have with community members are changing people’s lives for the better, and Officer Remigio embodied that one thousand percent,” said Fallon. “Louie was a very important part of this department, and I cannot begin to express what his loss will mean not only to each of us.”
Remigio leaves behind two adult daughters, who are still mourning the sudden loss of their mother last year. Thousands are expected to gather for his wake, which is slated to take place on Thursday. A funeral will be held on Friday.
“Officer Remigio was not only one of the most dedicated officers, but he was a well-respected and well-loved member of our city,” said Mayor Joseph Curtatone. “Whether responding to an emergency, conducting his daily duties, or assisting with one community event or another, Lou met each person with compassion, with a smile, and he was known for going the extra mile to keep our residents safe. His loss will be immeasurable.”
Ricci posted $10,000 cash bail Monday and was released from prison. He was arrested again Tuesday night at his home in Burlington. Sources tell 7News that Ricci was arrested on an outstanding warrant for violating parole on unrelated matter.
He is due in court Wednesday for a hearing on his parole violation. He is slated to be arraigned in connection with the crash on Oct. 20.
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