ABOVE: Global’s Mark Carcasole reports live from the scene of a fatal crash which claimed the life of a Niagara police officer
TORONTO – The Niagara Regional Police force is mourning the loss of one of their own after an off-duty officer was killed in a motorcycle collision in Welland early Friday morning.
Police say 33-year-old Constable Joe Mellen was traveling home on his motorcycle from a night shift in Niagara Falls when he somehow collided with an oncoming vehicle around 5 a.m. on Highway 406 at Woodlawn Road.
“It appears the vehicle came in contact head on,” said OPP Sergeant Kerry Schmidt.
“The rider of motorcycle was ejected from the motorcycle, struck the car, and sustained fatal injuries.”
This is the scene. 406 closed at Woodlawn. https://t.co/GID6kGWGh4
— Dan Dakin (@DanDakinMedia) August 8, 2014
Police say the female driver of the vehicle was airlifted to hospital with serious but non-life threatening injuries.
“It’s very tragic right now,” Sgt. Schmidt told reporters on scene. “Any fatal collision is very somber and because it is an off-duty officer, it hits home for any officer dealing with fatalities like this.”
Niagara Police Chief Jeff McGuire remembers Cst. Mellen as a “good cop” and a “hard-working civil servant.”
“Very fun guy to be around,” Chief McGuire told reporters outside Niagara police headquarters Friday morning. “The impact on our members will be great.”
Photo of #Niagara Police officer Joe Mellen Jr. pic.twitter广州桑拿网/JV5ViQwkfB
— Mark Carcasole (@MarkCarcGlobal) August 8, 2014
Cst. Mellen joined the police force as a cadet in 2004 and friends describe him as a “wannabe actor, musician and comedian.”
Detective Sergeant Clifford Priest, the president of the Niagara Police Association, told Global News Cst. Mellen was extremely well liked in his community.
“He helped out with kids events, charity events, just an all around popular guy,” the Det. Sgt. said.
“He had a great sense of humour. He was able to help a lot of his colleagues get through dark times.”
Det. Sgt. Priest said the officers who first responded on the scene knew Mellen well.
“The guys were telling me that when he left [his shift,] he was in extremely good spirits,” Det. Sgt. Priest said.
“It was our officers that discovered it was a friend that had been killed in the collision.”
The officer leaves behind two children, aged 5 and 7. He was divorced.
WATCH: Niagara Regional Police chief Jeff McGuire confirms that officer Joe Mellen was involved in a crash on his way home from a night shift and was killed in the accident.
Ontario Provincial Police say they are investigating the cause of the fatal crash and are asking any member of the public who may have witnessed the incident to come forward.
Highway 406 between East Main and Woodlawn was closed for several hours during the police reconstruction but it was fully reopened at 10 a.m.
Update- Hwy 406 NB/SB between East Main & Woodlawn Rd, Wellend: ALL lanes have re-opened in both directions.
— Ontario Prov Police (@OPP_GTATraffic) August 8, 2014
Several police officers and emergency responders from jurisdictions across Ontario have offered their condolences on 广州蒲友.
Our sympathies to @NiagRegPolice on the loss of one of their officers, who tragically died while off duty. RIP
— DRPS (@DRPS) August 8, 2014
our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Constable Mellan of the @NiagRegPolice #thinblueline pic.twitter广州桑拿网/gxG5i2v1t8
— HRPS Burlington (@HRPSBurl) August 8, 2014
My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the Niagara Regional Police officer killed as he was heading home from his shift.
— William Donnelly (@Insp_WmDonnelly) August 8, 2014
Thoughts go out to our brothers and sisters at Niagara Regional Police on the loss of their off-duty officer this morning.
— Paul Davies (@PaulDaviesCymru) August 8, 2014
@NiagRegPolice thoughts and prayers to Niagara Regional Police.
— Constable Flemming (@Lyndzf) August 8, 2014
Our thoughts go out to the family and friends of the Niagara Region Police officer who lost his life in a motorcycle accident this morning
— HaliburtonParamedics (@HaliburtonMedic) August 8, 2014