Retired Cop, Avid Bicyclist Dies Following Crash During Police Unity Tour
Two days after being critically injured in a bicycle crash while participating in the 20th Annual Police Unity Tour, retired Roxbury Police Lt. Joseph Franklin has died, his family said in a statement Wednesday night.
"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Joseph Franklin. Helping others even in death, he donated his organs to those in need. We request privacy during this extremely difficult time and thank the community for their support," the family said in a statement released through Morristown Medical Center spokesperson Elaine Andrecovich.
Franklin was involved in a dozen-bicyclist pileup, NJ Policemen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Colligan told Townsquare Media in an interview Wednesday morning.
Roxbury Police Chief Marc Palanchi confirmed the news in a statement Wednesday night. Palanchi said he saw Franklin Monday at the Police Unity Tour starting line and spoke with him for about 30 minutes.
"Joe was enthusiastic about how much he was enjoying retirement and how great everything was going in North Carolina. he told me he had become an avid bike rider and said he started every day with a 25-35-mile ride and then he would play gold or head to the beach," Palanchi recalled. "He was excited about and looking forward to the Unity Tour to ride in honor of the fallen and see all of his friends who were also making the trip. We shook hands, wished each other well and he told me to tell all of the guys to be safe as he rode away. A short time later, he was involved in the accident."
Frankin served 25 years on the Roxbury Police Department, where he began his career as a patrolman on March 24, 1982. He rose through the ranks, serving as a patrolman, traffic officer, patrol sergeant, traffic sergeant, patrol lieutenant, traffic lieutenant and community services lieutenant during his career, the police chief said in a statement.
"Joe gave to others his entire career and continued giving back to Law Enforcement during his retirement and ultimately gave his life during his last ride. Even today, he is still giving. Joe is giving the gift of life to others by donating his organs. One final heroic act," Palanchi said. "If I could use one word to sum Joe up best it would be honorable."