EAST WINDSOR, Conn. (WGGB/WHSM) -- A Chicopee police officer has been killed in a motorcycle crash in Connecticut, Chicopee police confirm.
Angela Santiago, Chicopee High School school resource officer, was off-duty when the accident happened in East Windsor on I-91 southbound between exits 44 and 42.
She was hired by the Chicopee Police Department in 2014.
She served over eight years in the U.S. Army and is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
She was working on earning her Associate’s Degree at a local community college.
In the U.S. Army, she performed supervisory responsibilities and received outstanding recommendations from individuals familiar with her performance.
Flowers have been placed on the windshield of a police car, and the flags are flying at half staff. People have left signs inside the police station.
Santiago was a twin sister, a former Chicopee High School student and a veteran.
“She would come down and play football in the freezing cold,” said Richard Tougas, whose children were close with Santiago. “She would come out in the blazing heat and sit and talk with the boys, buy them ice cream.”
Santiago didn’t stop there. She wanted to make a point to make a connection with Tougas’ kids.
“If the boys weren't in front of our apartment playing out there, she'd ask us where they were,” said Erika Tougas. “We'd tell her they were over at the park or in the field. She'd go right over there and see if they were there just to say hi.”
She showed the Tougas boys the good of being a police officer.
“She'd show them everything,” Erika Tougas said. “How the police car works, and all the different gadgets and stuff that was in there, and take pictures with them.”
She lifted spirits at the Chicopee Police Department.
“She had an infectious smile,” Police Chief William Jebb said. “She would walk through the department and just brighten up the hallways, so it's a serious serious void.”
Santiago became Chicopee High School’s resource officer back in February. Even in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, she had an impact on the student body. It showed when seniors had the reserve parade.
“There was a ton of students walking by her saying, ‘Officer Santiago, look at us. Look at our car,’” Superintendent Lynn Clark said.
The principal of Chicopee High School said in a statement:
“Angela Santiago was an amazing person. In the short time she was at Chicopee High School, she was our friend, our colleague, our protector.”
During a mayor's briefing Tuesday afternoon, Jebb had a moment of silence for Santiago.
“Before I start, I just want to take a moment,” he said. “It's kind of with a heavy heart that I stand before you after just learning that one of my officers was just killed in a motorcycle accident in East Windsor, Connecticut. So I ask for a moment of silence in memory of Angela Santiago."