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'You were my heart': Thousands gather to honor CT trooper killed in hit-and-run

Funeral services for Trooper First Class Aaron Pelletier were held Wednesday, nearly a week after he was struck and killed by a vehicle during a routine traffic stop.

The funeral began at 11 a.m. at the Xfinity Theatre in Hartford. His American flag-draped casket was carried into the arena by eight fellow state troopers. The service was attended by dignitaries including Gov. Ned Lamont and Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, and state troopers from several neighboring states.

A private burial was to take place after the funeral, according to state police.

Pelletier, 34, was killed last Thursday while outside his cruiser on Interstate 84 in Southington. He was a nine-year veteran of the Connecticut State Police.

After Pelletier was hit by the passing vehicle, authorities said the driver "evaded the scene."

The motorist, Alex Oyola-Sanchez, 44, was later arrested and faces multiple charges, including second-degree manslaughter, failure to drive in the proper lane and operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs, police said.

Lamont ordered flags across the state to fly half staff until sunset Wednesday.

TFC Aaron Pelletier leaves behind his wife Dominique and two sons, Troy Michael and Zachary Matthew Pelletier
Ct State Police
TFC Aaron Pelletier leaves behind his wife Dominique and two sons, Troy Michael and Zachary Matthew Pelletier.

‘A dedicated husband and father’

Pelletier was remembered in his obituary as “a dedicated husband and father” to his wife, Dominique, and two sons, Troy and Zachary.

“Everything revolved around their happiness,” the obituary says, “even if it meant him taking it to the 100th exponential (when Dominique wanted chickens, he built her a coop!)”

At Wednesday’s memorial service, family and colleagues remembered Pelletier as a hard worker and a family man.

“He was the embodiment of a wonderful human, friend, father, son, brother, and loving husband,” said Trooper Darren Connolly.

“We will move forward with the knowledge that he was a shining light whose example we will still follow in the months and years to come,” said Col. Daniel Loughman, commander of the Connecticut State Police, who posthumously awarded Pelletier the Medal of Honor.

Pelletier’s widow, Dominique, was not scheduled to speak, but chose to give remarks.

“You weren’t just my husband – you were my home, you were my heart, you were my safe place and my provider, my best friend,” she said, through tears.

“The light in our smiles will be forever dimmed, and the thought of this world without that laugh seems unimaginable but has already become real,” she said. “I promise to keep you alive in our home, in our heart, and in our boys’ memories forever. I love you and I miss you – I just friggin’ miss you.”

Pelletier graduated from Southington High School in 2007 and from Central Connecticut State University. He worked for the state Department of Correction before leaving in 2015 to begin training with the state police, according to his obituary.

As a trooper, he worked with Troop H in Hartford and also served as a member of the Hartford FBI Task force and as a K-9 handler.

How to support 

In lieu of flowers, Pelletier’s obituary asks for donations to be sent to Tunnels to Towers Foundation, at 2361 Hylan Boulevard, Staten Island, NY, 10306 or The Connecticut State Police has also set up an approved GoFundMe for Pelletier’s family. All proceeds will go directly to the family, police said.

This story has been updated. Connecticut Public's Chris Polansky and Patrick Skahill contributed to this report.