“It was her real dream – she wanted to be a cop. Not just a cop, but a state trooper,” said Pat Catino, who hired Bucci to work at the Assembly Sports Club in Somerville in 2017. change the perception that the police were the bad guys, she wanted to let people know that they are not – they are nice people who take their jobs seriously and are willing to help people and uphold respect the law. I think she was motivated by that.
The crash happened in the northbound lanes near exit 27, where two Good Samaritans and a Stoneham police officer tried emergency rescue techniques before EMS crews arrived on the scene. Bucci was then rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston where she was pronounced dead early Friday, said Col. Christopher Mason, the state police’s top commander.
“His life was cut too short, too soon. Last night, on a stretch of road she protected every evening during the night shift, Private Bucci gave his life trying to help another person in distress. There is no greater act of sacrifice than laying down one’s life for another,’ Mason said at a news conference Friday at Medford Barracks.
Bucci graduated from the State Police Academy in May 2020 and was first assigned to Brookfield Barracks before moving to Medford Barracks in January, Mason said.
Bucci had parked on the north side of the freeway, her cruiser’s blue lights flashing, around 11:45 p.m. to help a disabled motorist who had stopped in the recovery lane. His vehicle was then struck by the fully loaded tractor-trailer, Mason said.
Mason expressed his thanks to the two people who pulled Bucci from his wrecked cruiser so Stoneham’s officer could begin CPR. But no one, including MGH medical staff, could save her, Mason said.
“In my conversations with some of the investigators who were on the scene, they describe the actions of the good Samaritans as heroic, immediate and decisive,” Mason said.
Patrick McNamara, president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, publicly thanked those who rushed to Bucci’s aid. He said Bucci’s comrades were “heartbroken… [by] this tragic and senseless loss of life.
“It’s never easy when one of our members is taken away from us. It reminds us of the dangers we face every day in the service of the Commonwealth,” McNamara said at the Medford press conference. “Private Bucci is not only a colleague for us, she was our sister. …We ask everyone to keep their families and our members in their thoughts and prayers during this extremely difficult time.
Late Friday night, officers, many of whom had waited for hours in the cold, saluted as the motorcade escorting Bucci’s body turned down Albany Street at 11 p.m., led by soldiers on motorcycles.
Governor Charlie Baker ordered flags on state office buildings to be lowered to half staff in Bucci’s honor.
“Our heartfelt and sincere thoughts are with Private Bucci’s family during this heartbreaking time,” Baker wrote on Twitter. “Private Tamar Bucci embodied the best of Massachusetts State Policing, and her loss is devastating to her loved ones, the Commonwealth, and her brothers and sisters in blue.”
There is no greater sacrifice than giving your life in the service of others. Private Tamar Bucci embodied the best of Massachusetts State Policing, and her loss is devastating to her loved ones, the Commonwealth and her brothers and sisters in blue.
—Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) March 4, 2022
Bucci is survived by his parents, two sisters, a half-sister and a half-brother, Mason said. She resided in Woburn and worked in security at Encore Casino in Everett before joining the state police, he said. She was a graduate of Middlesex Community College and Andover High School.
Family members could not be reached for comment on Friday.
The semi-trailer involved in the accident is owned by PJ Murphy Transportation Inc. of Methuen. A receptionist who answered the phone said she had no information to share.
Mason said the driver remained at the scene after the crash. He was not injured. No charges or citations were issued against him, but Mason stressed that the investigation was just beginning.
The driver of the disabled vehicle, a woman, was rushed to a local hospital for evaluation. Mason said it was not yet clear whether the damage to the disabled driver’s vehicle resulted from contact with Bucci’s cruiser or the tractor-trailer.
Bucci is the 22nd soldier in department history to die in the line of duty, Mason said.
Bucci worked as a personal trainer in Somerville from 2017 to 2019, before leaving to work at the casino, which she left in 2020 to join the state police.
Catino spent part of Friday’s meeting with staff at the Somerville gymnasium, where many of those who worked with Bucci are still on staff. “It’s a big loss and everyone really felt it. It hit home because when she was in the gym she was part of the family,” he said.
Catino said Bucci sometimes challenged men who worked as trainers to fitness competitions — and often won. “She was very dynamic and had a great personality. Her smile lit up the room when she entered. She was just very competitive about her fitness, always trying to outdo herself and loved going to challenge herself in the gym, whether it was doing push-ups or pull-ups or different exercises.
On Thursday night, Catino said, he noticed on social media that Bucci was 34 and sent him a note of congratulations. When he woke up on Friday, he picked up his phone, saw she had answered – then turned on the TV.
“I heard them tell us about the tragedy that happened and I said to my wife, ‘Oh my God,'” said Catino, whose wife, Lucinda Catino, had worked with Bucci.
“She came running into the room saying, ‘What? What? What?’ And we watched TV and were both overwhelmed. We saw his picture up there. The news of what happened was heartbreaking.
He added: “My heart goes out to his family.”
Globe correspondents Matt Yan and Jeremy Fox contributed to this report.
John R. Ellement can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @JREbosglobe. Deanna Pan can be reached at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter @DDpan. Steve Annear can be contacted at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.