Updated: 01/24/2014 6:22 PM
Created: 01/24/2014 12:39 PM WNYT.com
By: Dan Bazile
LIVINGSTON - A black cloth was draped over the facade of the Hudson City Police department building, displaying the cloud of sadness hanging over the men and women in uniform who worked with officer William Wrigley.
"It's a very bad day for the department," said Hudson Police Chief Edward Moore.
Investigators said officer Wrigley died Friday morning in a one car accident on County Route 19. just south of the intersection of Route 9 in Livingston. Columbia County Sheriff David Bartlett said he was traveling south when his Honda Civic when he struck several small signs, sheered a telephone pole and slammed head-on into a tree.
"We don't know if he fell asleep. We don't know what happened at this time. It's going to be a lengthy investigation, as far as different types of forensic work will be done," Sheriff Bartlett said.
Forensic tests will determine if alcohol or anything else was involved. For now, officials said it could have been as simple as he fell asleep behind the wheel. Wrigley was an 11-year veteran of the Hudson City Police department. Chief Moore said Wrigley got off duty two days ago.
"He was off duty when this happened. He was a larger than life type of officer," Moore said.
Wrigley was courageous and served the city well, according to Moore. He also served his country honorably in the Navy. The Hudson City Police Chief, the Columbia County Sheriff and Undersheriff seemed very emotional as they spoke to Newschannel 13. That's because they knew officer Wrigley very well. They're mourning. But at the same time, they're trying to focus on the investigation. Moore and the sheriff said losing an officer in this close knit community is more like losing a family member.
"When you lose someone like this, it's very personal and it hurts," Moore told Newschannel. "Our guys are really reeling from it, our small department and we're going to do our best to patch this up and move on."
"He was a nice guy. Everybody knew him, a lot of friends and it's a somber time for us here," said Columbia County Undersheriff John Davi.