The family of Connecticut State Quentin “Q” Williams held a public memorial for the late lawmaker roughly three weeks after he was killed in a wrong-way collision. The CT Black and Puerto Rican Caucus posted a flyer inviting people to the Jan. 28 memorial on Facebook last week.
According to a report by NBC Connecticut, Williams, 39, was one of two people killed on Thursday, Jan. 5, when 27-year-old Kimede Mustafaj hit him head on Route 9 in Cromwell. Mustafaj, who was driving the wrong way when the accident occurred, also died.
During the nearly two-hour memorial, letters from U.S President Joe Biden and Vice-President Kamala Harris were read. A variety of people who knew and loved Williams also reflected on his life and legacy.
There is also a memorial website called “Remembering Q” in honor of Williams, where people can leave reflections of their experiences with and memories of him.
Seen as a rising star in politics, Williams died hours after he was sworn in for his third term. He was on his way home from the governor’s inaugural ball. He was a Democrat who was remembered fondly by his colleagues.
“I am in shock,” House speaker Matt Ritter said. “Q was my dear friend and I am scarred by his sudden loss. We will have time to reflect on Q as a legislator in the weeks to come, but right now I deeply mourn my friend and send all of my love to Carrissa, Queen and Q’s family. We will all miss Q.”
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“Rep. Williams was an amazing human being. His infectious smile could instantly make a difficult day better,” House Majority Leader Jason Rojas said in a statement. “He was an amazing husband, friend and colleague. He loved community and serving others. Truly – a friend to all who knew him. This is a terrible tragedy and a great loss to our state. My heart goes out to his wife, family, and all who loved Q. We will miss him.”
Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont flew state flags at half-staff in tribute to Williams. “This is devastating news, and I am incredibly saddened by this tragedy,” Lamont said. “Quentin had an infectiously optimistic personality, and he absolutely loved having the opportunity to represent his lifelong home of Middletown at the State Capitol.”
The State Capitol was also closed and legislative business ceased until the following Monday in response to Williams’ death.
Calls for better ways to address wrong-way collisions have heightened since Williams’ death. “We have a profound sense of purpose around this,” Connecticut State Sen. Christine Cohen, the Senate chair of the Connecticut General Assembly’s transportation committee, told Pluribus News.
It is one of a few states that have installed technology to alert and deter drivers from going the wrong way.
Lamont has also called for a special election to be held on Tuesday, Feb. 28, to fill the seat of Williams and two other vacancies.