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Crash Kills Off-Duty Officer

Boston Globe via YellowBrix

September 13, 2010

LOWELL – An off-duty Lowell police officer was struck and killed by an alleged drunk driver early yesterday morning, officials said. Sergeant Patrick Johnson, 31, of Lowell, a six-year veteran of the department, was riding his motorcycle at Princeton Boulevard and Foster Street in Lowell around 12:30 a.m. when he was struck by another vehicle.

He was pronounced dead at Lowell General Hospital.

The driver of the other vehicle, Theary Chan, 26, of Lowell, was arrested later at the same hospital, where he was being treated for injuries sustained in the crash.

He has been charged with motor vehicle homicide, operating under the influence, and failure to stop at a stop sign, according to Lowell Police.

Police said they found an open container of an alcoholic beverage in his car and further cited Chan for that violation. He will be arraigned tomorrow in Lowell District Court.

Lowell Police Superintendent Ken Lavallee said Johnson leaves a wife, an infant daughter, and a 3-year-old son.

“I know it’s a cliché and everyone says it when someone dies, but there is no exaggeration, no embellishment, when I say he truly was a great, great man. He was very mild mannered. Never someone you had to worry about. He was a good, good guy,’’ Lavallee said, his voice shaking. “He certainly was highly respected, and very much a gentleman.’’

“He was an outstanding police officer,’’ said Lowell Police Captain Randall J. Humphrey, a department spokesman. “It’s just a terrible, terrible loss not only to his family and friends but equally important to the Lowell Police Department as an organization.’’

Lavallee said Johnson served as a Marine for four years before joining the department. He was assigned to the elite Community Response Team, which investigates suspected gang activity.

“He participated in literally hundreds of arrests of gang types,’’ Lavallee said.

Johnson received commendations in 2005 and this year for outstanding police work, Lavallee said.

“We’re going to miss him here. He really was an excellent person,’’ he said.

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