CROMWELL/MIDDLETOWN — State Rep. Quentin “Q” Williams was reportedly killed in a wrong-way automobile crash early Thursday morning.
According to the State Police, a vehicle traveling the wrong way on Route 9 near Cromwell struck head-on another car driving south just before 1 a.m. on Thursday. The car that was struck spun onto the left shoulder of the road and burst into flames. The other car spun onto the grass median.
State police said they have not yet positively identified either of the drivers, both of whom were pronounced dead on the scene.
Williams, 39, was in his third term as State Representative. He previously served as co-chair of the Aging Committee, and was just appointed as Chair of the Labor and Public Employees Committee. He was a lifelong Middletown resident and the first African American to represent the city in the legislature. He had a degree from Bryant University in Business Administration and a master’s degree from Villanova University in Public Administration.
He worked as Director of Advocacy and Policy at Excellence Community Schools, which manages charter schools in the Bronx and Stamford, CT. He also taught a course in leadership at the University of Hartford.
An outpouring of condolences has come from government lawmakers and from Middletown residents on social media.
“Rep. Williams truly embodied the phrase larger than life. His laugh, smile, and presence were felt in every space shared with him. His passing is a true loss for our community,” Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim said in a statement. “A light has been dimmed today. His dedication to fighting for equity, education, worker’s rights, and justice in all its forms is irreplaceable, and while we are heartbroken, the community he loved so much—and where Q was loved so much in return—will continue the fight.”
State Sen. Matt Lesser, D-Middletown, said Williams’ passing was “shocking and unfathomable.”
“He and his family have meant so much to the Middletown community and personally to myself and my family. As a legislator he was a passionate and committed public servant whose intellect and warmth made our state a better place and the General Assembly a better place. He was a trailblazer, the first Black state representative ever elected in Middletown. My thoughts and prayers are with his wife Carrissa and his mother Queen and his entire family as they manage the unimaginable,” said Lesser.
House minority leader Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford, said the House Republicans’ hearts were with their Democratic colleagues and with Williams’ friends and family.
“Representative Williams was a young, emerging leader who deftly balanced forward-looking thoughtfulness with passion and charisma in his work at the Capitol and within his community. His tragic passing is a devastating loss for the General Assembly, Middletown, and the State of Connecticut,” Candelora said in a statement.
Co-chairs of the Black and Puerto Rican Caucus State Rep. Geraldo Reyes, D-Waterbury and State Rep. Bobby Gibson, D-Bloomfield, praised Williams’ commitment to equality and his dedication to helping people struggling with the housing crisis.
“Rep. Williams was a trailblazer who fought for equality and was committed to creating learning opportunities in all communities. Today, we have lost a brother who truly dedicated his life to public service,” they said in a statement.
The State Capitol building was closed today and all committee meetings were canceled.
The crash remains under investigation.