WILLOUGHBY, OH (WOIO) - Funeral services were held Thursday morning for the Willoughby police officer killed last week in a car accident.
A special mass for Officer Jason Gresko was also held Thursday at St. Adalbert in Cleveland, where the Officer's brother is the assistant principal.
"When his family is hurting, when he's hurting, the whole community suffers," said St. Adalbert School Principal James Smith. "The mass is a way we gather for healing to know that the Lord is present among us even in times of tragedy."
On Friday, Sept. 21, at approximately 9:35 p.m., Willoughby Police and Fire Departments responded to a two-vehicle traffic crash on Harmony Lane.
Gresko, 32, was responding to an emergency call when his cruiser and a pick-up truck collided. After the two vehicles collided, the police cruiser went off the roadway and stuck a tree.
Officer Gresko was transported to Lake West Medical Center in Willoughby where he succumbed to injuries. The driver and occupants of the truck were not injured.
A makeshift memorial marks the spot where Officer Gresko died. A huge blue ribbon wraps around the tree his cruiser hit along with a flag.
"He just wanted to help people, he was a helper," one woman said, standing in front of the memorial. "I brought my daughter down just to see the tree."
"Today the right thing is honoring him and honoring the entire force," another resident said.
Officer Gresko worked for Willoughby for almost 10 years and was Officer of the Year in 2009.
Chief Jack Beckwith said that Gresko was admired and loved by those he worked with, "Gave 110% everyday kept everyone on their toes made us a better police department and made us all better people, too. Truly, truly gonna miss Officer Gresko."
In addition to working part-time for Willoughby Police, Gresko worked with the Cleveland Clinic Police Department.
Heather Phillips, Clinic spokeswoman, issued the following statement: "Jason was an exemplary officer in the Cleveland Clinic's Police Department for the past six years. He was a dedicated employee who we were honored to have on our police force. Our deepest sympathy goes out to his family during this difficult time."
Gresko is survived by his wife and young daughter.
A memorial fund has been established for Officer Gresko. Contributions can be made to the Western Lake County F.O.P. in care of Officer Jason Gresko at any local Huntington Bank. Branch locator - https://www.huntington.com/locator/advantage.jsp
If you have information regarding this crash, please contact the Willoughby Police Department at 440-953-4212.