WALTHAM, Mass. – A law enforcement veteran and a National Grid worker were both killed in a crash on Wednesday. The double traffic fatality is now under investigation by the Waltham Police Department along with the Massachusetts State Police, according to reports.
The fallen officer was identified as 28-year police veteran Paul Tracey. The National Grid worker who died was a 36-year-old from Cambridge whose name was not immediately released. Two additional workers were injured, one of whom is hospitalized, NBC Boston reported.
“I have been notified that one member of our family, a police officer, has passed away. So I ask you to keep that officer and his family in your prayers,” Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy said, while visibly shaken in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy, according to WCAC-TV.
The Officer Down Memorial Page offered the following details:
Police Officer Paul Tracey was struck and killed by a suspected drunk driver while he was working a construction detail near 158 Totten Pond Road in Waltham.
The subject was driving east on Totten Pond Road at 4:15 p.m. when he attempted to make a U-turn and collided with a vehicle. He drove away from the crash and struck Officer Tracey and three National Grid utility workers about a quarter mile from his initial collision. The subject continued driving, and when he struck two vehicles, he fled on foot, wielding a knife, ultimately stealing a police cruiser. He was apprehended after a foot pursuit.
Police Officer Tracey and one of the utility workers were killed. Two other utility workers were transported to the hospital.
The suspect was identified as 54-year-old Peter Simon of Woodsville, New Hampshire. He was charged with two counts of manslaughter and armed robbery (for stealing the police cruiser while brandishing a knife), NBC Boston reported.
According to ODMP, he was also charged with additional traffic related offenses.
Waltham Police Chief Kevin O’Connell said that Tracey “was a compassionate police officer who always looked out for the underdog.” He described him as “an amazing husband, loving father and friend to all.”
Tracey served with the Waltham Police Department for 28 years. He was recognized on at least two occasions for life saving efforts, including last November when he was one of several officers who responded to a tragic Brandeis bus crash that killed one undergraduate student and injured dozens of others.
Tracey family. (Image via WCAC-TV)
The fallen officer is survived by his wife, who is a WPD school resource officer, and two children.
In 2013, the Tracey family enjoyed an entertaining run of appearances on Family Feud, impressing host Steve Harvey, WCAC-TV reported.
Paul’s Fast Money responses helped the family win $20,000. “We had a blast,” he said during a watch party. “I’d do it again in a heartbeat.”
The National Grid company provided NBC10 Boston with the following statement on Wednesday:
“Clearly, what happened today is an unimaginable tragedy for the family of Officer Tracy and for the National Grid employee, for the entire Waltham Police Department, and for the community as a whole. At National Grid, safety is our first priority. Our thoughts are with the crew members, their families and loved ones.”