Death of highway patrol officer diminishes elite unit of Philadelphia police

His fellow officers are mourning the death of a Philadelphia Highway Patrol Officer killed over the weekend when his motorcycle was hit head on by a driver going the wrong way on Interstate 95.

Officer Brian Lorenzo was not just a member of the highway patrol, he was one of the best of the best, an instructor, who trained those who worked for the elite unit, his colleagues say.

He was more that just a police officer, say those who worked with him.

“People try to say nice things about you when you pass away, not in Brian’s case,” said retired Lt. Gerry Greene. “This guy was one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met and I’ve met a lot of people over 37 years. And at the same time, he had the abilities to be a Highway Patrolman and had what it took to do it.”

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Sergeant Michael Walton heads up Mayor Michael Nutter’s protection detail, and was a highway patrol supervisor for six years. He says once an officer becomes a motorcycle officer or “wheel man,” it’s something special, according to Sgt. Michael Walton, who heads up Mayor Michael Nutter’s protection detail.

“Highly motivated, they go after the hardest criminals out there,” said Walton, a highway patrol supervisor for six years. “They do the hardest jobs out there — it’s just you do what you have to do.”

The highway patrol doesn’t really cover the highways anymore; that’s done by the state police.

Retired motorcycle officer Frank Flynn says the patrol officers are the Green Berets of the police department.

“When something big goes down in the city, and they are looking for reinforcements, they’ve always got on the phone and called for highway patrol,” Flynn said. “Or they get on the police radio, and the commanders will get on the radio, and ask, ‘Are there any highway patrol units available?'”

The investigation continues into just what caused the accident early Sunday morning. John Lech Jr. of Levittown, Pa., is facing charges of homicide by vehicle, driving under the influence and related offenses.

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