JERSEY CITY, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A Jersey City police lieutenant died Friday morning after being hit by a car on the New Jersey Turnpike.
Lt. Christopher Robateau, 49, was on his way to work when he was involved in a minor crash with a large DHL truck around 6:30 a.m. near exit 14. Officials said he got out of his car to help the other driver when he was struck by a pickup truck.
“He was struck with considerable force and deceased at the scene,” Mayor Steven Fulop said at a news conference Friday.
Jersey Police Chief Mike Kelly said Lt. Robateau was in full uniform at the time of the crash.
“Lt. Robateau’s instincts are always to help and save others and that’s what he was doing when he was struck,” he said.
On Twitter earlier Friday morning, Fulop said he considered Lt. Robateau to be on duty “being that he was looking to help someone which is what we want all JC officers to do all the time.”
Robateau was a 23-year veteran of the force with a passion for policing, earning more than 40 meritorious service awards along with commendations for bravery. Kelly called him “one of the most decorated police officers that we have.”
“We have over 900 police officers in Jersey City. He may be our best,” Kelly said. “That’s how good that this man was.”
Robateau was married with three children, ages 25, 16 and 15.
Kelly said they spoke with his children Friday morning to make sure “that they understood that their father died a hero trying to help someone else.”
Fulop said Robateau’s family will receive the benefits of the family of an officer killed on the job.
“He was one of the most respected men in the supervisor ranks that we have,” Police Union President Bobby Kearns said. “It’s a great loss for the department, the city and his family.”
State police are investigating.