Hamilton police officer killed in car crash was loved by students
HAMILTON (Mercer) — Students wore blue to school on Tuesday to honor Officer Tom White, a hero cop who died in a car crash while off duty on Monday afternoon.
Details are few about the 4 p.m. crash on Nottingham Way, which took the life of the 44-year-old officer who was part of Hamilton's Police Athletic League's Safety Town program and was well-known by many students.
Black and purple bunting was hung on the front of Hamilton Police headquarters on Tuesday as the flag flew at half-staff.
"The loss of any member of our Township Government family is always heartbreaking, but when we lose someone who has made such a positive impact in the lives of our community’s children - as was the case with Police Officer Tom White – it is even more heartbreaking," Hamilton mayor Kelly Yaede said in a statement. "I want to extend our collective sympathies and our prayers for Officer White’s family and loved ones during this extremely difficult time. May they always take solace in the fact that his legacy will endure through the achievements of the countless children he served across our community.
White was off duty at the time of the crash, according to the Mercer County Prosecutor's Office. Officials say his SUV rear-ended a van.
No charges have been brought in the crash.
Parent Michele Angermiller told New Jersey 101.5 that students at the Reynolds School took his death hard and wore blue to class on Tuesday. She said he always had a smile when she saw him and the kids all loved him.
White was called a hero for his actions during a 2011 fire, according to NJ.com. He and another officer arrived before firefighters and broke the front window of a home on Forman Drive to rescue the couple inside.
White is the fourth off-duty officer to die in New Jersey in the past three weeks. Summit Officer Matthew Tarantino was killed on May 30 in a car crash on Route 78.
Linden police Officer Daniel Kuczynski was fatally struck on June 12 by a NJ Transit train.
Vineland police Officer Charlie Amadei died Friday in a Woolwich Township crash while he was riding in a minivan with his wife and three children.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com.
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