A promising young New Jersey State Trooper and a Salem County doctor were both killed in a head-on car crash in Millville, Cumberland County Monday night.
Trooper Frankie Williams, 31, was responding to the erratic driver call around 7 p.m. and traveling northbound on State Highway 55 at milepost 22.2 when a man driving southbound in a Toyota Corolla -- that matched the erratic vehicle description -- crossed the 20-yard grass median and entered the northbound lanes, said state police.
The Corolla struck Williams' vehicle head-on.
The Corolla driver -- identified as Dr. Lloyd Rudley, 61, of Elmer, New Jersey -- was pronounced dead at the scene. Trooper Williams was flown to Cooper University Hospital where he later died from his injuries.
Route 55 northbound was closed at the scene of the crash.
The wreck remained under investigation Tuesday. Rudley's car matched descriptions of the erratic vehicle that Williams was responding to at the time of the wreck, witnesses told state police investigators.
Rudley was a doctor affiliated with Pennsylvania Hospital who worked primarily in Elmer, New Jersey and specialized in psychiatry as well as neurology, according to the Vineland High School Class of 1973 Facebook page.
Williams, of Egg Harbor Township, was assigned to the Port Norris Station. He was a member of the 156th State Police Class which graduated on Jan. 29, 2016. NJSP called him a "bright and promising trooper." [[405006266, C]]
Flags were lowered to half-staff in Williams' honor Tuesday and Millville Police offered their chaplains to State Police. Governor Chris Christie also sent his prayers to Williams' family.
"Just let them know our hearts are with them," said Millville Mayor Michael Santiago. "If there's anything we can do we're here to offer our support to them."
Residents brought flowers, an angel light and cards offering condolences to the Point Norris Barracks where Williams was assigned.
"Such a young man," said Tina Piper of Port Norris. "He just got married. It's really heart-wrenching. So I had to come out and stop in and tell the gentlemen how sorry I was for their loss this morning."
Those who knew Trooper Williams told NBC10 he was full of life and was an inspiration.
"This is so tragic," said Kevin Egolf.
Egolf and his wife Beatrice lived next door to Williams in Mays Landing before the trooper and his wife moved to Egg Harbor Township. Williams had just gotten married in late September after graduating from the state police academy only months earlier.
"It was his optimal goal to be a state trooper and if he can he would help out anybody he could," said Egolf.
Williams grew up in Lakeland, Florida before moving to New Jersey. Donna Wood, Williams' former neighbor, told NBC10 he was always fearless, even as a boy.
"I know that child that grew up and I knew he was doing something that he was passionate about," Wood said, while fighting back tears.
After Williams moved to South Jersey he earned a degree in criminal justice from Rutgers at Atlantic Cape Community College. He was in the process of getting his Masters degree prior to his death.
"He without a doubt was one of the best students I've ever had," said Williams' former professor Dean Wyks.
Professor Wyks called Williams an inspiration and inquisitive with a yearning to serve the community.
"If you took all of the qualities that we recognize as good qualities in a human being, Frankie epitomized all of them," Professor Wyks said.
Information on funeral services for Trooper Williams has not yet been released.