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New Jersey police officer killed in truck crash

Christopher Goodell, who grew up in the northern New Jersey town and was a Marine Corps veteran, was pronounced dead at the scene. He was a five-year veteran of the police force.

The Associated Press

7/17/2014

WALDWICK, N.J. — A tractor-trailer rear-ended an unmarked police car early Thursday, killing a Waldwick officer, the second New Jersey officer to die in the line of duty this week.

Officer Christopher Goodell, 32, was operating radar to check for speeders on Route 17 at about 1:30 a.m. when a truck went onto the shoulder of the road and struck the parked police car at the Bergen Avenue intersection, Bergen County Prosecutor John Molinelli said. The truck pushed the car into a retaining wall.

Goodell, who grew up in the northern New Jersey town and was a Marine Corps veteran, was pronounced dead at the scene. He was a five-year veteran of the police force.

"He was an outstanding person. He was an outstanding officer," Police Chief Mark Messner said. "He loved his country. He loved his town. He loved his police department. He leaves behind his family and a young fiancee."

The truck driver, 28-year-old Ryan Cumberbatch of Brooklyn, New York, was not injured and called 911, Molinelli said. It was not known why the truck went onto the shoulder. The trailer was half-full and carrying produce, the prosecutor said.

The crash remained under investigation, and no charges were filed.

The accident happened just days after Jersey City Police Officer Melvin Santiago, a 23-year-old rookie, was slain early Sunday outside a 24-hour drugstore in what authorities say was an ambush.

"Police officers face dangers every single day. We saw what happened in Jersey City. We saw what happened to a Bergen County police officer a couple of months ago. Danger faces these police officers at any moment," the prosecutor said.

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