South Windsor, CT – South Windsor Police Department (SWPD) Officer Benjamin Lovett died on Tuesday morning due to injuries he suffered after being hit by an impaired driver on June 26.
The Connecticut State Police (CSP) said the collision occurred in Tolland at approximately 1:15 a.m. on June 26, the Hartford Courant reported.
Officer Lovett, 25, was off-duty riding his 2020 Harley Davidson northbound on Crystal Lake Road when 24-year-old Spencer Kraus came barreling through a stop sign in his 2017 Chevrolet Silverado, police said.
Kraus crossed in front of the young officer, causing the collision, the Hartford Courant reported.
The force of the impact threw Officer Lovett and his passenger, 39-year-old Jennifer Sokolik, off of the bike.
Sokolik was rushed to Hartford Hospital and her condition is unknown, the Hartford Courant reported.
Officer Lovett was initially transported to Rockville General Hospital, according to the paper.
He died from his injuries at Hartford Hospital on Tuesday, according to the Tolland Patch.
Troopers said Kraus was not injured in the crash and that he failed field sobriety testing, the Hartford Courant reported.
He was arrested on charges of second-degree assault, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, failure to obey a stop sign, and evading responsibility.
The assault charge pending against Kraus is expected to be upgraded as a result of Officer Lovett’s death, Tolland State’s Attorney Matthew Gedansky confirmed on Wednesday, according to the Hartford Courant.
During his three years of service with the SWPD, Officer Lovett received multiple letters of appreciation and was the recipient of the Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) recognition award in 2020.
He was also nominated for the same award again this year.
“On average, 28 people die each day as a result of somebody making the wrong decision,” MADD Regional Executive Director for New England Bob Garguilo told the Hartford Courant. “When it’s a law enforcement officer who we know is working with us to prevent this, I guess the hit we take is a little stronger.”
He was a certified emergency medical technician and a member of the agency’s Crisis Intervention Team.
Officer Lovett was recently assigned to the East Central Narcotics Task Force – a duty that is generally reserved for officers who have more time on the job, SWPD Sergeant Mark Cleverdon told the paper.
Sgt. Cleverdon acknowledged that putting a young officer on the task force is not a common occurrence.
“Ben was extremely, extremely intelligent,” he said, explaining the exception. “We don’t just throw darts and say, ‘OK, you’re going in there.’ But we had all the faith in him.”
Fellow SWPD Officer Zac Cosenza said Officer Lovett worked hard and was quickly excelling in his law enforcement career.
“He was a very good police officer, and he was a good friend,” Officer Cosenza told the Hartford Courant. “He truly cared about his department, and his dedication was unmatched, which is why he was able to get to where he did so early on his career.”
Sgt. Cleverdon said the entire department is heartbroken over the loss of the promising young officer.
“Benjamin was a valuable member of the department, an easygoing and bright officer, and friend and a co-worker who will be greatly missed by his family at the South Windsor Police Department,” he told the Journal Inquirer.
@pd_southwindsor along with loved ones are mourning the loss of Officer Ben Lovett who died on Tuesday. At 4/5, how his fellow officers, CT @MADDOnline and state lawmakers are remembering the 25-year-old. @NBCConnecticut pic.twitter.com/dpO1HDoSX6
— Dominique Moody (@dmoodytv) July 14, 2021
South Windsor PD says Officer Benjamin Lovett has died as a result of injuries sustained in a crash in Tolland a couple weeks ago. @SWPD_PIO says the 25-year-old from Vernon was a bright officer with great potential and a valuable member of the team. More on @FOX61News at 5. pic.twitter.com/VJRxQPw9JS
— Elisha Machado (@ElishaMachadoTV) July 14, 2021
Attached is our official release regarding the passing of our brother officer, Ben Lovett. pic.twitter.com/gNcpQjO6Ve
— South Windsor Police Department PIO (@SWPD_PIO) July 14, 2021
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of South Windsor Police Department Officer Benjamin “Ben” Lovett, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.