‘Ultimate sacrifice:’ Law enforcement, mourners honor PA State Trooper Martin Mack at viewing in Bucks County7 min read
Hundreds of law enforcement officers and other mourners lined up early Wednesday to pay their respects to the family of Pennsylvania State Trooper Martin F. Mack, III, the veteran officer, father and local coach who lost his life earlier this month while on duty on Interstate 95.
The public viewing for Mack, of Bristol Borough, began at 10 a.m. in the tiny riverfront borough where he lived with his wife and their two young daughters. Thousands were expected to come to the Wade Funeral Home on Radcliffe Street before the viewing ended at 3 p.m.
A funeral Mass will be held Thursday at St. Michael the Archangel Church, 66 Levittown Parkway, Tullytown, starting at 11 a.m. It will be broadcast outside the church due to the expected overflow crowd, officials said.
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Some of the earliest to arrive to the Bristol funeral home were Pennsylvania state troopers and state Attorney General Josh Shapiro. Some troopers stood forming an honor guard into the funeral home. Others filled the parking lot of St. Mark School next to the funeral home.
As he walked away from the funeral home, Bucks District Attorney Matthew Weintraub said he had been “praying a lot” for Mack’s young family and extended family, as well as for all those working in law enforcement.
“The outpouring of support and emotion is really overwhelming. I’m bereft,” he said. “I really don’t know what to say. I’ve been praying a lot. I’ve been thinking about the trooper and his family and his extended family who are all here. And that’s everybody in law enforcement. I continue to pray for them every day. They’re doing a very difficult job and it obviously can have devastating consequences. I feel awful,” he said.
Mack was killed in a March 21 crash on Interstate 95 in South Philadelphia that also claimed the life of State Trooper Branden Sisca, 29, and a pedestrian from Allentown whom the troopers were escorting to their vehicle when all three men were struck.
Services for Sisca will be Friday and Saturday in western Montgomery County, where he lived.
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Mack, a graduate of Monsignor Bonner High School and Albright College, joined the Pennsylvania State Police in November 2014 and graduated as a member of the 141st cadet class. He would spend his career with Patrol Section of Troop K, which covers Philadelphia.
When not with family or on patrol, Mack found time in recent years to be the assistant coach of the lacrosse team at Truman High School in Bristol Township and serve in the U.S. Army National Guard.
Trooper Kelly Smith, who works in the Pennsylvania State Police Office of Community Engagement, said that when her father heard about the deaths of Mack and Sisca last week, he was at work and a co-worker noticed his eyes well up. “He said it could have been me,” Smith said. “It hits hard for all law enforcement (families). You can envision your family member being in that situation.”
“Troopers Mack and Sisca gave the ultimate sacrifice. We signed up to put community and service before everything else and they did just that. It’s important to honor their lives,” Smith said.
Lt. Adam Reed, a state police communications officer in Harrisburg, said his office spoke with hundreds of officers, including from California and New Mexico, about coming to the funeral. “There will be representatives from agencies all across the United States and Canada most likely,” he said.
The Ulster County Sheriff’s Office in New York sent two officers to the viewing. “We’re here to pay our respects,” said Sheriff Deputy Brian Woltman.
Police officers on horseback and members of the Bucks County Park Rangers could be seen going to the funeral home from the area reserved for the press.
In addition to those attending the funeral, several volunteers came from all over Bucks County to assist with shuttling people to and from a nearby parking area. A Central Bucks School District van with black bunting draped across its fender helped with the transport service.
As he stood directing traffic on the chilly morning, Warwick Township Fire Police Officer Ken Wilcox of Station 66 said he “absolutely” had to help out.
“He’s a brother,” he said of Trooper Mack.
Lt. Greg Emery of the Pennsylvania State Police Troop M, which serves Northern Bucks, Lehigh and Northampton counties, said close to 40 troopers from the barracks were coming to the viewing or funeral.
Sgt. Steven Stigliano of Troop M said he and fellow troopers came “to pay respects to our fallen brother and the family of Trooper Mack.
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“We appreciate all the community support we’ve been receiving,” he added. “On behalf of all of us, thank you.”
On the morning of the crash, the troopers were taking a pedestrian into custody to get him off the busy expressway. The woman driver was identified as Jayana Tanae Webb, 21, of Eagleville. Police said she faces multiple charges of three counts each of third-degree murder, homicide by vehicle while DUI, homicide by vehicle, as well as two counts of second-degree manslaughter of a law enforcement officer, all of which are felonies.
She also faces misdemeanor offenses of involuntary manslaughter, recklessly endangering another person and DUI, as well as several summary traffic citations.
Webb was denied bail and is being held in the Philadelphia County Detention Center. A preliminary hearing on her charges is set for April 5.
The viewing and Thursday’s funeral procession will cause road closures and other restrictions.
Funeral procession set for Thursday through Lower Bucks County
The funeral procession will proceed from St. Michael’s in Tullytown to Our Lady or Grace Cemetery on the Route 1 Superhighway in Langhorne following the funeral mass. The following will be in effect:
Road closures will occur in Middletown Township on Bristol Oxford Valley Road from Levittown Parkway to Route 1 Superhighway and on Route 1 Superhighway southbound from Oxford Valley Road to the Bensalem Township line. The closures will occur between 12:30 and 1:30 pm.
Main roads leading into the area including E. Lincoln Highway will also be impacted by the road closures. Please avoid these areas or take alternate routes, police said.
In addition, Levittown Parkway will be closed to traffic in both directions from its intersection with Route 13 to Kenwood Drive from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Kenwood Drive will remain open to allow entrance to the Walmart and other stores in the shopping center. The shopping center will provide excess parking for those who can’t park in the St. Michael parish lot.
Lower Makefield announced it will be closing the southbound lanes of Oxford Valley Road at Big Oak Road on Thursday around 12:15 for about an hour, or possibly longer. Motorist are asked to limit travel in the entire area during the length of the funeral procession.
This article originally appeared on Bucks County Courier Times: PA state trooper killed: Viewing held at Wade Funeral Home