MILLVILLE — The city and its Police Department went into mourning after Patrol Officer Christopher Reeves was killed in the line of duty July 8.
Now, more than a month after his death, department members and his family are taking some solace in the gifts that people from throughout the United States and Canada are sending.
They have sent money, sympathy cards and homemade items such as crosses, said Officer Jennifer Satero, financial secretary and adviser for Policeman’s Benevolent Association Local 213. Churches have told the family and Police Department that Reeves will be remembered in all services for a year, she said.
“There have been a lot of people contacting us,” Satero said. “It kind of blows us away how helpful everyone has been. It really makes you sit back and realize some people really care.”
The Police Department and area businesses and organizations are also trying to help Reeves’ wife, Susan, and 2-year-old son, Alexander.
As part of that effort, the department is selling T-shirts and wristbands, with the profits going to the Alexander W. Reeves Educational Fund. The blue T-shirts feature a version of the Superman logo, with Reeves’ initials replacing the “S.” Reeves got the nickname Superman because his name is similar to that of the actor who played the superhero in the movies of the 1970s and ’80s, Christopher Reeve.
Satero said she did not have a figure for how much money people have donated for the Reeves family.
Reeves was killed when police were pursuing Timothy Seidel, who authorities allege was traveling through parts of the city at a high rate of speed. Reeves was stopped at an intersection to serve as a backup officer in the pursuit. Authorities say Seidel, 23, of Commercial Township, crashed into Reeves’ police cruiser at Broad and Third streets about 2:15 a.m.
Officials with the state Policemen’s Benevolent Association have said Seidel was being chased by police. Local officials refused to characterize the incident as a high-speed pursuit. The criminal complaint filed against Seidel makes no mention of a high-speed pursuit but states that Seidel eluded police, creating “a risk of death or injury.” Authorities are not releasing the actual police report because it is part of an ongoing investigation.
Seidel is charged with two counts of aggravated manslaughter and single counts of eluding, vehicular homicide and aggravated assault. Authorities also lodged various motor vehicle offenses against Seidel. He is being held in the Cumberland County jail in Bridgeton on $400,000 bail.
Reeves’ wife is a member of the Police Department. Satero said Susan Reeves has not returned to work since the accident.
Also injured in the crash was Officer Jonathan Seidel, who joined the Police Department shortly before the accident. Reeves was giving Jonathan Seidel a nighttime tour of the city as part of his duties as a training officer. Jonathan Seidel suffered an arm injury in the crash.
Jonathan Seidel and Timothy Seidel are not related.
Contact Thomas Barlas:
If you want to help
PBA Local 213 is selling T-shirts for $15 and wristbands for $5 to benefit the Alexander W. Reeves Educational Fund. The items can be bought at the Millville Police Department or by calling Officer Jennifer Satero at 856-825-7010, ext. 7625.
Donations can be made to the Alexander W. Reeves Educational Fund, care of Millville Savings, P.O. Box 190, Millville, N.J. 08332.
The following fundraisers for the family and the Alexander W. Reeves Educational Fund have been scheduled:
- Noon to 6 p.m today at the Millville Elks Lodge, 1813 E. Broad St., Millville.
- Monday at McDonalds, 1027 N. High St., Millville. Fifteen percent of all sales from 5 to 8 p.m. will be donated to the educational fund.
- Thursday at Chick-fil-A, 3849 S. Delsea Drive, Vineland. 20 percent of sales from 3 to 8 p.m. will be donated to the educational fund.
- Sept. 9 at the second annual South Jersey Camaro Show at Bennett Chevrolet, Egg Harbor Township
- Sept. 15 at Bob Evans, 2297 N. Second St., Millville. 15 percent of sales from the Community Fun Night will be donated to the educational fund.
Source: PBA Local 213