LAKELAND, Fla. (WFLA/AP) — A graduate of George Jenkins High School in Lakeland, who became a New Jersey state trooper, has died after being involved in a head-on crash while on the job. It happened Monday night in Millville, N.J.
New Jersey State Police say a man traveling southbound on a highway crossed the grass median, entered the northbound lanes and crashed into the state trooper’s vehicle.
Trooper Frankie Williams was responding to a call at the time of the collision.
State police say the unidentified man was pronounced dead at the scene. The 31-year-old Williams was flown to a hospital, where he later died.
The crash remains under investigation.
State police say Williams was a member of the 156th State Police Class, which graduated in January.
Williams graduated from George Jenkins High School in 2001.
The current principal released a statement: “We’d like to thank him for his service to the State Highway Patrol of New Jersey. We’ll keep his family in our thoughts and prayers,” said Buddy Thomas.
Neighbor Donna Wood remembers him fondly.
“I know that child who grew up and I knew he was doing something he was passionate about,” said Wood, who also works in law enforcement as a spokeswoman for the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
She tells News Channel 8 Williams was always full of life, competitive and enjoyed having fun in their Polk County neighborhood.
“We just enjoyed being around him,” she said.
Williams earned praise earlier this year. A New Jersey newspaper reported when he smashed the window of a car after someone left a poodle inside the vehicle in sweltering conditions.