BRAMPTON, Ont. - A Toronto-area police officer who died after his cruiser ended up wrapped around a light standard following a collision was a married father of a three-year-old son, police said Wednesday.
Peel region police Cst. Artem (James) Otchakovski was a "fine young officer who cared for his family and served his community with pride," said Chief Mike Metcalf.
The 36-year-old officer was "an ideal recruit" who spoke several languages including Russian, Hebrew and Ukrainian, Metcalf said.
"We have suffered a great loss."
Otchakovski was on duty late Monday when he headed to assist another officer in transporting someone in a non-emergency situation. His marked cruiser collided with another vehicle in Brampton, Ont., some 45 kilometres northwest of Toronto, just before 11 p.m.
Metcalf said he did not know what the officer's speed was at the time of the crash, adding investigators were having difficulty removing a GPS unit from the car that could show the speed.
He would not discuss the circumstances of the crash, saying it's still under investigation by the major collision bureau. No charges have been laid, he added.
The constable was rushed to a nearby hospital and later transferred to Sunnybrook hospital in Toronto where he died at 9 p.m. Tuesday, surrounded by family and colleagues.
His family - wife, Erin, and three-year-old, Owen - and his colleagues are taking his death hard, Metcalf said.
"They're devastated. Obviously his wife Erin, they've only been married four years, a three year-old son... They're trying to cope and we're trying to help them cope with it, but it's a life altering experience.
"Obviously Erin will never get over this."
Premier Dalton McGuinty said his thoughts were with the "family of this young officer who lost his life."
"It's an opportunity to reflect on just how lucky we are to have so many men and women who devote themselves to our safety through our police services," McGuinty said at the legislature.
Otchakovski, who lived in Barrie, Ont., went to university in Moldova before he emigated to Israel, where he worked at a hotel as a chef. He came to Canada in 1995 and worked for Brinks, where he met his wife. He joined the Peel police force in 2008.
The 22-year-old Brampton man who was driving the other vehicle suffered minor injuries in the collision.
Funeral arrangements are pending.