TRIBUTE: The body of Waldwick Police Officer Christopher Goodell was escorted in a solemn but powerful five-mile procession this afternoon from Wyckoff to to the Ho-Ho-Kus church where he will be buried tomorrow.
In a massive display of law enforcement honor and respect, uniformed officers from all corners participated.
Boyd A. Loving, a CLIFFVIEW PILOT correspondent, photographed the procession as it left Vander Plaat Funeral Home in Wyckoff on its way to St. Luke’s Church in Ho-Ho-Kus.
Visiting hours continue until 9 o’clock tonight at the North Franklin Turnpike church, where the funeral is set for 11 a.m. tomorrow. Interment in St. Luke’s Cemetery will follow.
“This is a close-knit community. These things hit very hard,” said Maria Scalia, an occupational therapist in the Waldwick school district who was among those who lined the route.
“It’s an emotional day,” she said, wiping her eyes. “It really is.”
Moonachie Police Officer Michael Rose, who was graduated with Goodell from the police academy in 2009, called him “a great guy. He was always a jokester, the class clown.”
Another classmate, Bergen County Sheriff’s Officer Matthew Ryan, added: “No matter how bad the pushups and the running was, he always had a face to make — a face that made us laugh.
“He was a good-hearted guy, a funny guy. He’d do anything for you,” Rose said.
Goodell was working a radar detail in his unmarked cruiser, parked on the shoulder of southbound Route 17, when it was struck by an 18-wheeler driven by a Brooklyn trucker around 1:20 a.m. Thursday.
The impact instantly killed the five-year veteran public servant and U.S. Marine, Bergen County Prosecutor John L. Molinelli said.
“There was no evidence of pre-impact braking by the truck,” Molinelli said shortly after the crash. “[I]nstead it appears from the roadway evidence that Cumberbatch drove directly into the police car without stopping or attempting to stop.”
The trucker had a brief court appearance in Hackensack this morning. His bail was continued at $25,000. READ MORE….
Local law enforcement has rallied to the aid of Waldwick police. Mahwah Police Chief James Batelli, president of the Bergen County Police Chiefs Association, and his colleagues have coordinated food delivery and are providing coverage during the visiting and funeral.
“This tragic accident gives pause to the inherent dangers of our profession,” Batelli said. “Please take a moment to reflect on the service of Officer Goodell to his country and the Waldwick community and remember him in your prayers.”
Goodell, 32, joined the U.S. Marine Corps after being graduated from Waldwick High School in 2000.
He served with the Waldwick Police Department for five years and was recently honored by Mothers Against Drunk Driving’s New Jersey chapter for outstanding efforts in drunk driving enforcement.
Survived by his parents and fiancee, Goodell was “an outstanding and proactive officer,” Waldwick Police Chief Mark Messner said.
“Our sympathy and love goes out to the family and also to the police department,” Mayor Thomas Giordano added.
Stephanie Schwartz of Northwest Bergen Press contributed to this story
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