South Windsor's Police Department is grieving the loss of Officer Benjamin Lovett after he died from his injuries sustained in an accident last month in Tolland.
Officers tell NBC Connecticut they along with Lovett's family have gone through a rollercoaster of emotions since the June accident. Lovett's death marks the second time a South Windsor Officer has been killed in the last three years.
Purple and black bunting flags hang outside South Windsor's Police Department just one day after the 25-year-old officer died at Hartford Hospital.
"We're struggling, we lost not only a member of our department but what I would consider a generally good person," said South Windsor Police Sergeant Mark Cleverdon. "I got to watch his growth when he was in-field training and after the fact and it was above average, significantly above average from what a new police officer would do."
On June 26 around 1 a.m., Lovett was involved in a motorcycle accident. According to state police, Lovett was driving his motorcycle on Hunter and Crystal Lake Road in Tolland when another driver hit him.
The driver was later identified as Spencer Kraus. He was charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, among other charges.
"Officer Lovett has left us but he has left a mark in a short period of time with MADD and with the department," said Bob Garguilo, regional executive director for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. "He was a sole nominee for the department last year and that speaks volumes to the person that he is and how he performed his job."
Connecticut's House of Representatives paid tribute to Lovett this morning by holding a moment of silence.
"He was a distinguished young man, he had a brilliant future ahead of him at the South Windsor Police Department," said State Rep. Tom Delnicki, who represents South Windsor.
Kraus is expected back in court on those charges on July 20.
Both law enforcement and Mothers Against Drunk Driving are again pleading for drivers to practice safe driving and have this message to the community.
"There's no reason to get behind a wheel when you've been intoxicated, there's none especially in this day in age when there's other avenues for people to get home," said Cleverdon.
"Do the right thing, don't put your family in harms way, don't put yourself in harm's way," said Garguilo.