Louis Remigio’s fellow officers on Tuesday escorted his body home from New Hampshire, where he was killed in an off-duty crash that was allegedly caused by a drag-racing teenager from Massachusetts.
Remigio was a 30-year veteran of the Somerville Police Department. Police Chief David Fallon and Mayor Joseph Curtatone spoke passionately about Remigio Tuesday, hours after it was disclosed the 55-year-old died at Portsmouth Regional Hospital, where he was taken after Sunday’s crash.
“He showed empathy before empathy was a popular term in policing,’’ Fallon said, adding that Remigio had been a role model for him during his career. “Any interaction with a police officer can affect that person for the rest of their lives. . . . [He was] always, always a positive person.”
Curtatone said he had known Remigio for about 25 years and his children came to recognize him not by his name, but by his personality, physical appearance, and attitude.
“He had a presence in the community. He was always the tall officer with the glasses and the big smile,” Curtatone said Tuesday. “Even my own kids knew him.”
During Remigio’s career, he had rushed into a burning building to rescue a person in a wheelchair, and he had disarmed a person using what are now called deescalation techniques, the chief said.
More recently, he was assigned to the department’s traffic unit, where his duties included maintaining the department’s motorcycles and providing traffic assistance for funerals, something he did hundreds of times, Fallon said.
“Always doing what he could do for the public,’’ Fallon said.
Remigio was operating a red 2003 Harley Davidson motorcycle on Interstate 95 South in North Hampton, N.H., around 9:26 a.m. Sunday, when he was struck head-on by a 2013 Mercedes-Benz C300 whose driver had crossed over from the northbound lanes, according to New Hampshire State Police.
The operator of the Mercedes-Benz was identified by New Hampshire authorities as Michael Ricci, 18, of Burlington. He was not injured in the crash. Ricci was racing against other cars when he crashed, witnesses said.
Ricci was arrested by State Police on a charge of reckless conduct while driving. He was released on $10,000 cash bail. His arraignment is set for Oct. 20 in Rockingham County Superior Court.
Remigio’s death could lead to more serious charges, officials said.
Separately, Ricci was arrested at his Burlington home Tuesday for violating bail conditions in a previous case, Burlington police revealed. He will remain in police custody, pending that arraignment Wednesday in Lowell Juvenile Court, police said.
According to his death notice, Remigio leaves two daughters, Danielle and Alexandra, both of Tewksbury, and three sisters, Ana O’Shea of Lubbock, Texas, Helena Wickstrom of Whitinsville, and Natalie Pereira of Medford.
A funeral Mass for the Tewksbury man and former youth coach will be said at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Clement Church in Somerville.
“He was very kind, very affable,’’ Curtatone said. “He was a first-class human being and that’s the way I will remember him.”Correspondent Adam Sennott contributed to this story. John Ellement can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.