NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — There were many warm embraces Thursday night as dozens of people remembered Diane Gonzalez, a 13-year veteran of the New Haven Police Department whose life changed forever one day while responding to a call.
Gonzalez was responding to a violent domestic dispute in 2008 when she collided with a fellow officer, Sergeant Dario Aponte, at the intersection of Chapel and East Street. He died instantly.
Gonzalez slipped into a coma after the crash, which she never emerged from. She died Monday.
On Thursday night, her body was escorted from Bradley International Airport to Iovanne Funeral Home in New Haven. Police cars lined East Street to honor her.
“I’m so happy her kids got to see how much we loved her in the city of New Haven,” said Stephanie Van Wilgen with the New Haven Police Department.
She worked the night shift as a single mom. Those who worked close with her for many years remember her vividly.
“She wore a smiley face on her uniform as she worked the midnight shift, a night like this, cold, you’re tired and Diane was always smiling and trust me, the rest of us were not always smiling but Diane was,” said Rebecca Goddard with the New Haven Police Department.
Gonzalez has two daughters, a son, and grandchildren. The New Haven Police Department said her family has stayed strong for more than a decade hoping she would pull through.
“She was truly, truly an amazing person and amazing police officer and it took this final tragedy and now she’s at peace.”
According to the New Haven Police Department, the wake for Gonzalez will be held Tuesday, Jan. 18 at Iovanne Funeral Home. Calling hours are from 3 to 7 p.m. There will be limited street parking, so police are asking people to park in the following areas: St. Michael Church, St. Andrew the Apostle Society or after 4:30 p.m. only, Conte West School.
Her funeral will be held Wednesday, Jan. 19 at Evergreen Cemetery at 12:30 p.m. She will be laid to rest with full line of duty honors.
No vehicles will be allowed in the cemetery, so police are asking people to park at the soccer field across from the cemetery. Law enforcement personnel should park in the Yale Bowl Lot D parking lot.