A Connecticut state lawmaker was killed on the road early Thursday morning after an oncoming driver rammed him and his vehicle burst into flames, authorities said.
State Representative Quentin Williams was fatally struck on his trip home from the Governor’s Inauguration Ball – and just hours after being sworn in for his third term.
“We were about as close as two people could come, and I can only say that I rarely received calls…I don’t think I’ve ever received a call as devastating as the one I received at 6.06am. this morning,” State Senator Matt Lesser said, according to WTNH.
The tragic crash happened around 12:30 p.m. as the 39-year-old Democrat was traveling south on Route 9 in Cromwell en route to Middletown, the area he represented in the state House of Representatives . His car was engulfed in flames after the frontal impact, officials said.
The town where the crash happened was about 15 miles from Hartford where the Governor’s Inaugural Ball was held.
The contraflow driver, Kimede Mustafaj, 27, also died. It is not known whether alcohol or drugs were involved.
Governor Ned Lamont ordered state flags flown at half-mast in light of the stunning tragedy.
“This is devastating news and I am incredibly saddened by this tragedy,” the governor said in a statement.
“Quentin had an infectious upbeat personality, and he loved the opportunity to represent his forever home of Middletown at the State Capitol. Public service was his passion and he always defended the interests of the people of his hometown.
Williams, a Middletown Schools graduate, was the new co-chairman of the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee. This committee was supposed to meet for the first time on Thursday, but instead all legislative activities were postponed until Monday.
The State Capitol and the Legislative Office Building have both been closed until next week.
Williams, also known as the Q and a rising star in Connecticut politics, is survived by his wife and mother. He grew up in public housing and became the first African American to represent Middletown in the General Assembly, according to his biography on his legislative website.
“Rep. Williams truly epitomized the phrase larger than life,” Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim said in a statement. “His laugh, his smile and his presence were felt in every space shared with him.
“His passing is a real loss to our community. A light has been dimmed today.
Lesser, the state senator, said his slain colleague was talking about one day running for statewide office or even Congress.
“Those are all things he would think about,” he said. ” We’ll never know. He had big dreams and big hopes…I think he had a damn good chance of coming true.
With post wires