CROMWELL, Conn. (WTNH) — Connecticut State Rep. Quentin “Q” Williams was killed in a crash involving a wrong-way driver on Rt. 9 South in Cromwell early Thursday morning.
The 39-year-old Democrat, a lifelong resident of Middletown, was sworn in for his third term in office Wednesday and appointed to serve as co-chair of the legislature’s labor committee. He had served residents in the 100th District.
Williams was the first African American to represent the City of Middletown in the Connecticut General Assembly, according to the Connecticut House Democrats website. He served as city treasurer in 2011 and was re-elected in 2015. In 2007, Williams was elected to the planning and zoning commission, and in 2009, he was unanimously elected chair of the commission.
“We were about as close as any two people could come, and I can just say that I’ve rarely gotten calls … I don’t think I’ve ever gotten a call as devastating as the call that I got at 6:06 this morning,” State Sen. Matt Lesser (D-Middletown) said.
“He was a beloved young man who accomplished so much in a short time,” Pastor Moses Harvill with Cross Street AME Zion Church said. “It’s not how long you live. It’s what you accomplish in the time in which you live.”
News 8 has learned that Williams had just left the governor’s ball in Hartford and was on his way home when the crash happened. His wife, Carrissa, was supposed to attend the ball with him and would have been in the car, but she wasn’t feeling up to going.
Williams is also survived by his mother, Queen. He publicly changed his name last year in honor of his mother, who raised him.
Funeral services have not yet been finalized. A candlelight vigil will be held on the South Green in Middletown at 7 p.m. Friday.
Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.) directed state flags to be lowered immediately to half-staff in honor of Williams.
The Legislative Office Building and State Capitol are closed and all legislative business is canceled for the rest of the week due to Williams’ death.
Both buildings will reopen and legislative work will resume on Monday, Jan. 9.
The crash happened just before 1 a.m. Thursday, just south of Exit 18. State police said Williams was traveling in the left lane, while the other driver, identified by state police as Kimede Mustafaj, a 27-year-old woman from Manchester, was driving north in the southbound lane.
Mustafaj struck Williams head-on, according to state police, causing the state representative’s car to go into the left shoulder, fully engulfed in flames. Mustafaj’s vehicle came to a stop in the median.
Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene.
The highway reopened at 7 a.m. Thursday.
State police are continuing to investigate the crash. Any witnesses with information are asked to contact Trooper Michael Dean (860) 534-100.