Phila. officer killed in wrong-way crash on I-95

TACONY - July 9, 2012

Several Philadelphia police officers escorted the body of their fallen brother to the Givnish Funeral Home Sunday morning. They shed a tear and shared a solemn salute to say goodbye to 48 year old Officer Brian Lorenzo.

"I remember Brian as a great person and a gentleman; a family man," said Sgt. Mark Palma.

Lorenzo was a 23-year veteran of the Philadelphia Police Department. He was in full uniform and on his way home from work around 3:15am Sunday morning when the motorcycle he was riding was struck by a driver who was going the wrong way down I-95 northbound at Cottman Avenue.

"It just appears that Lorenzo had no chance to evade this male," said Deputy Police Commissioner Richard Ross.

The wrong way driver is identified as 48-year-old John Leck, Jr. from Levittown, Pennsylvania. Investigators say Leck disregarded multiple traffic signs as he drove the wrong way up the southbound exit ramp at Cottman Avenue and onto I-95 North. He then went across oncoming traffic to the left lane. Police say there was no escaping the Levittown driver's reckless route.

Deputy Commissioner Richard Ross believes the man was under the influence at the time of the crash.

"It's just tragic," said Deputy Commissioner Ross. "This particular officer was well-known by many. He has been around a long time. He had a big smile all the time."

Lorenzo was a training officer for the department. There is a photograph of him hanging on the first floor of police headquarters.

Lorenzo leaves behind a wife and 3 children; the youngest is just 4 years old.

"I still have a lump in my throat all day about this. It's just really horrible," said Sgt. Palma.

It is clear that Brian Lorenzo was well-respected by his fellow officers; one of them happens to be his brother who works in the 25th Police District.

John Leck is charged with 3rd degree murder, homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence, homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter, driving under the influence and aggravated assault. He is currently under Pennsylvania State Police guard at Aria Torresdale Hospital in stable condition pending arraignment by the Philadelphia Bail Commissioner.

The Fraternal Order of Police has set up a memorial fund for Officer Lorenzo and his family at the Police and Fire Federal Credit Union. Donations can be taken at any PFFCU branch or other PFFCU members can make transfers directly by dialing 215-931-0300.

A viewing for Officer Brian Lorenzo will be held Thursday at 6:00 p.m. at Givnish Funeral Home at 10975 Academy Road Philadelphia, PA 19154.

On Friday morning there is a viewing at 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul in Center City.

A funeral mass will follow.

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