SOMERSET (CBS) – A college student was killed in a crash involving a police cruiser in Somerset early Friday morning.
Somerset Police Chief George McNeil said the officer was responding to a call when the cruiser collided with a Honda Civic on Route 138 around 12:30 a.m.
According to State Police, who are handling the investigation with the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office, the Honda was about to make a left turn onto Westhill Avenue just before the crash, which appeared to be head-on.
The driver of the car, 20-year-old Hailey Allard of Somerset, was rushed to Charlton Memorial Hospital where she died. A witness told WBZ-TV they saw two officers performing CPR on her in the road after the crash. McNeil said one of them was the officer involved in the collision. Allard was a student at UMass Dartmouth, the school confirmed.
Grieving friends and family who described Allard as a “beautiful person” gathered at a makeshift memorial on Friday to remember her.
“We just want to remember her for who she was, the most loving, caring — she would give anything (to help) any type of person,” said Ali Shaw.
The officer, who had not been named yet, was treated for a head injury at Rhode Island Hospital and released. He has been with the department for four years, according to the chief. McNeil said the officer was headed to back up another officer who was in the area investigating attempted car break-ins.
Both vehicles had significant front end damage and a utility pole was torn down. Some homes in the area lost power.
“It was a pretty heavy duty collision. They bounced off each other and the officer went into the telephone pole, the other victim spun around,” said McNeil.
Witnesses described a loud sound and a horrific crash scene.
“The noise was very intense, very loud and the minute I heard the noise, the power went off,” said Marion Gigiammo.
“We were in bed and I heard a crunch, a bad, hard loud crunch,” said Mike Murray. The officer involved in the collision then rushed to help the other driver.
“He initially came out after he realized, obviously, what had happened and he tried everything he could do,” Murray said.
“That’s the type of officer he is. He’s a good officer,” the chief told reporters. “I think it’s important that everybody heals,” McNeil said. “It’s a tragedy they’re going to have to live with the rest of their lives.”
No other information is available at this point in the investigation.