A Connecticut state representative was one of two people killed in a reverse highway accident early Thursday on his way home from an inaugural ball to kick off the new era, state lawmakers said.
Officials from across the state mourned the passing of State Representative Quentin Williams from Middletown, about 20 minutes’ drive south of the capital, Hartford. Mr Williams was 39 years old, according to State Senator Matt Lesser, who acted as the family spokesperson.
The accident occurred around 12:45 pm on Route 9 in Cromwell, just north of Middletown. Connecticut State Police said a southbound vehicle was hit head-on by another northbound vehicle in a southbound lane. According to police, the southbound vehicle “was completely engulfed in flames”.
Police did not release the names of the two drivers who died in the crash. It was unclear which car Mr. Williams was driving.
William Tong, the state’s attorney general, said in a statement that Mr Williams met “Q” when he was a defender of a local school in Stamford.
“I can think of only one word to describe it – I’m hopeful,” said Mr. Tong. “Q has always been full of optimism and possibilities. He had a relentlessly positive and aspirational spirit. We need his light more than ever, and that’s why it’s so hard to lose him.”
Hartford mayor Luke Bronin posted a photo of him next to Mr Williams at the party Wednesday night, describing him as full of energy and passion for his work. The event was held at The Bushnell, a performing arts venue in Hartford.
“We are all devastated and heartbroken by the news this morning,” said Mr Bronin at another event on Thursday morning.
Mr Williams, a Democrat, was first elected in 2019 and was sworn in Wednesday for his third term serving in the 100th District, which includes downtown Middletown and Wesleyan University.
He was a lifelong resident of the city and the first African American to represent him at Connecticut’s General Assembly, according to his biography on the State House Democrats website.
The biography says he started out in community banking in Hartford, then went into management for a nonprofit, becoming executive director of the Middletown Downtown Business District and then advocacy and policy director for Excellence Community Schools, a charter school network.
According to the bio, he also co-founded the educational nonprofit EquityCT, served on the boards of several local groups and taught a leadership course at the University of Hartford.