MILLVILLE — City officials said Thursday they expect as many as 1,000 law-enforcement officers to attend Friday’s funeral for a member of the local Police Department killed in the line of duty on Sunday.
The expected crowd of law-enforcement officers from New Jersey and other states is prompting local police to close portions of major downtown streets at different times for the viewing, memorial service and processions related to Christopher Reeves’ funeral.
Reeves, 40, died Sunday and another city police officer, 27-year-old Jonathan Seidel, of Pennsville, Salem County, was injured in a two-car crash at the intersection of Broad and Third streets around 2:15 a.m. Their police cruiser was hit by a car driven by 23-year-old Commercial Township resident Timothy Seidel.
City authorities said they were following Timothy Seidel, who is not related to Jonathan Seidel, after he hit another police cruiser a short time before the accident. Officials with the state PBA said Timothy Seidel was being chased by city police when the accident occurred.
Reeves’ death prompted what city and local police officials said is a tremendous outpouring of condolences and support from law-enforcement agencies across the country. That has local officials expecting a turnout larger than they expected earlier in the week.
“It’s going to be closer to 1,000,” Mayor Tim Shannon said of the expected number of law-enforcement officers Friday.
City police said they expect Jonathan Seidel, who on Monday underwent surgery at Cooper University Hospital in Camden for an arm injury suffered during the accident, to attend at least part of Friday’s proceedings.
Reeves’s wife, Susan, also is a police officer here. City police said all members of the local Police Department will be allowed to attend the services for Reeves. The city will be patrolled by officers from other law-enforcement agencies during the services.
Workers in all city departments are on call to provide the Police Department with whatever it needs to make the proceedings go as smoothly as possible, Shannon said. That still means that motorists wanting to use parts of Main, Sharp and High streets should expect delays, and that they should plan alternate routes through the city, he said.
Reeves’ viewing and memorial service will be at Lakeside Middle School on Sharp Street. He will be buried in Mount Pleasant Cemetery on West Main Street. Those processions will use those streets and High Street at different times of the day.
“There’s going to be some inconvenience,” Shannon said. “That’s the unfortunate nature of it. We’re trying to prepare a plan that will be as efficient as possible and still be able to get people around the city.”
City police said Timothy Seidel was still listed in critical condition at Cooper on Tuesday. No information was available from police on his condition on Thursday. Officials at Cooper said they are not releasing any information related to Timothy Seidel.
Timothy Seidel is charged with two counts of aggravated manslaughter and single counts of eluding, vehicular homicide and aggravated assault. Bail for Timothy Seidel is set at $500,000 cash on those charges.
Cumberland County Prosecutor Jennifer Webb-McRae said Timothy Seidel also faces various motor-vehicle offenses. The nature of those charges was not available from the Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office, which is investigating.
The accident occurred a day before local authorities said they were to notify Timothy Seidel that his application to join the Police Department here was rejected because he did not meet residency requirements. Timothy Seidel was not a local resident when he took his Civil Service test earlier this year, they said.
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