MILTON, Wis. - The Milton community is mourning former Police Chief Terry Hawkins.
Hawkins died after being involved in a multi-car pile up on the interstate south of Janesville. The state patrol said he was slowing down as emergency crews worked to clear another crash.
Friends are remembering Hawkins as kind man who they said when folks asked him how he was doing his usual response was "just peachy." Three orange barrels on the overpass above I-39/90 now mark the spot of the horrific crash that claimed Hawkins' life.
"He hired me and was someone I always looked up to and was thankful to," said Lt. John Conger with the Milton Police Department.
Hawkins, 61, was killed just after 10:30 p.m. Thursday when his vehicle was rear-ended.
The crash happened near mile marker 178, south of Janesville.
Friends said Hawkins was a huge baseball fan and was on his way home from a Beloit Snappers game.
Conger worked with Hawkins for 13 years.
"It was a very easy environment to work with or work in with Terry. He almost always had a smile on his face, and a joke to tell or a funny story, and that's the type of environment people like to work in." Conger said.Community mourns death of former police chief
Hawkins served as Milton's police chief from 1990-2004. Even though he didn't grow up in Milton, Hawkins remained in the community and was regularly seen at local events.
Most recently the city's Fourth of July celebration.
"Not everybody that's here now knew who he was but just the fact that he is the father of one of our co workers, everybody is aware of the situation and what happened. It's a very somber day here," said Deputy Fire Chief Chris Lukas.
Milton's former fire chief, now Deputy Chief Chris Lukas said he enjoyed working with Hawkins. He said the chief's easy going nature brought the community together.
"I give him a lot of credit. He was probably one of the people who really improved the working relationship between the police and fire departments," said Lukas.
Friends said Hawkins will be missed but his legacy will live on. His son and daughter-in-law are members of the Milton Fire Department.
"[Hawkins was] always active in the community, passionate about law enforcement and we're proud of his family too because they're carrying on the legacy of public service and safety," Conger said.
Milton's mayor has ordered all flags at half staff in honor of the former chief. Funeral services are still pending for Hawkins.
A visitation will be held on Thursday from 4-8 p.m. at Albrecht's Funeral Home at 828 South Janesville St. in the City of Milton.
Additional services will be held on Friday at Milton High School with an additional visitation from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m., with funeral services immediately following. The high school is located at 114 West High St.
Following the services there will be a processional to Junction Cemetery on North John Paul Road for the burial. A community gathering to remember Hawkins will follow the burial service. The location for the gathering has not been finalized.
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