10/23/2006

Conn. officer struck by federal judge dies

The Associated Press

NEW HAVEN, Conn.- A police officer died Saturday, four days after being struck by a sport utility vehicle driven by a federal judge, the mayor said.

Officer Dan Picagli, a 17-year veteran of the force, was hit while directing traffic in the rain Tuesday night. He had been wearing a black raincoat and a reflective vest.

The SUV was driven by John M. Walker Jr., a senior judge on the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York, who maintains court chambers in New Haven. He was leaving work when the accident happened, police said.

No charges have been filed.

Police Chief Francisco Ortiz said the accident remained under investigation, but officers did not feel it was necessary to test Walker for drugs or alcohol.

Walker, 65, voluntarily stepped down this month as chief judge of the court. He was appointed to the court in 1989 by President George H.W. Bush, who is a cousin of the judge.

"Officer Picagli was more than a cop," Mayor John DeStefano said in a statement Saturday. "He was someone who brought people together, who created a sense of community. He was a life enhancer to all with whom he came in contact. More than any memorial, his basic decency will keep his memory vibrant in our city."

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