Thousands honour Peel officer killed in crash
Thousands of people filled Mississauga, Ont.'s Hershey Centre Tuesday afternoon to pay tribute to Peel Regional Police Const. Artem [James] Ochakovsky.
The 36-year-old died of his injuries in hospital last Tuesday after his marked cruiser ended up wrapped around a lamppost following a collision with another vehicle a day earlier at Steeles Avenue and Airport Road.
Ochakovsky who lived in Barrie with his wife, Erin and their three-year-old son, Owen, had been on his way to help another officer at the time of the crash.
Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty, Peel Regional Police Chief Mike Metcalf and Ochakovsky's family and friends spoke at the funeral, praising the constable's dedication to his family and his work with the police force.
Also in the congregation were firefighters, paramedics, and police officers from across Canada and the United States.
Ochakovsky, who joined the Peel force in 2008, was described as a role model who went out of his way to help others.
"Officers like James and OPP Const. Vu Pham, the Huron County police officer who was killed in the line of duty just yesterday, these men are heroes everyday of their lives to their communities, to their fellow officers and most of all to their families," said McGuinty, referring to the OPP officer who was killed March 8.
Ochakovsky's wife spoke about her husband as a loving and dedicated father.
"He was my hero, my Prince Charming, my everything," she said. "I miss you already. You were my life. You were my heart. I will see you again."
Ochakovsky was born in Moldova, emigrated first to Israel and then to Canada in 1995.
He had worked as a chef and security guard before joining the police force.
Ochakovsky is the first Peel Regional Police officer to die on duty in 25 years.
With files from The Canadian Press