WEBSTER (CBS) — The police cruiser of a Webster officer was covered in flowers and a wreath on Sunday as family, friends, and fellow officers mourned his death.
“The department is devastated. We lost a great man, the town lost a great person. I can’t find words to describe it, it’s just awful,” Deputy Chief Michael Shaw said.
Police said Officer Michael Lee was off-duty on Saturday morning when he drove into a tractor-trailer that was stopped in the breakdown lane on Route 395 in Auburn.
He was pronounced dead at the scene and the driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured.
The station’s flag was lowered at half-staff Sunday.
Many who stopped by to lay flowers grew emotional as they remembered and honored Lee.
“He was just an amazing person, great guy, loving friend who didn’t have a mean bone in his body at all,” friend Jessica Richard said. Her daughter, 10-year-old Isabella Richards brought flowers with her brother.
“Every time we would have cookouts or something like that he would always take it off to come with us and he just helped us a lot in any way he could,” Isabella said. “[I’m] grateful that I got to know him for how long that I did.”
Officer Lee grew up in Webster and was a police officer there for more than 10 years. He also worked for a short time at the Falmouth Police Department.
“Not only was he a friend, he was one of the best cops out there and it’s devastating when you lose someone so close to home,” said Richard.
Shaw also said, “You felt like you were the most important person when you talked to him, like someone you could open up to. He was just an awesome, awesome person, I’ll try and take a little bit of that with me.
“He was the kind of guy that everyone felt he was their best friend, I take a little bit of that with me,” Shaw said.
Lee’s wake will be held on Wednesday night from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Bartel Funeral home in Dudley. A law-enforcement-only walkthrough will be at 3:30.
The funeral will be held at 10 a.m on Thursday at Sacred Heart Church in Webster.