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State Rep. Quentin Williams killed in crash after inaugural ball

Flags are now flying at half-staff, and the Connecticut State Capitol is closed until Monday after state Rep. Quentin Williams’ stunning death.

John Craven

Jan 5, 2023, 3:02 PM

Updated 534 days ago


A popular state lawmaker was killed in a car crash on his way home from Gov. Ned Lamont's inaugural ball early Thursday morning. Flags are now flying at half-staff, and the Connecticut State Capitol is closed until Monday after state Rep. Quentin Williams’ stunning death.
“This is devastating news, and I am incredibly saddened by this tragedy,” Lamont said in a statement. "Quentin had an infectiously optimistic personality, and he absolutely loved having the opportunity to represent his lifelong home of Middletown."
The crash happened on Route 9 in Cromwell around 12:45 a.m. According to an initial report from Connecticut State Police, 27-year-old Kimede Mustafaj of Manchester was driving the wrong way when she crashed head-on into Williams' car. His vehicle burst into flames.
Both drivers died. Police are still investigating how the crash happened.
Williams, known as “Q,” had just posed for pictures at the inaugural ball with Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin.
Hours earlier, Williams was sworn in for his third term in the Connecticut House of Representatives. He was recently named co-chair of the powerful Labor and Public Employees Committee.
Williams took over fellow Democrat Matt Lesser’s House seat in 2019, when Lesser was elected to the state Senate.
"He was family. You know, we were as close as any two people could come,” Lesser said Thursday. “I don't think I've ever gotten a call as devastating as the call I got at 6:06 this morning."
Social media flooded with tributes all day.
Williams’ political opponents praised him too.
“Representative Williams was a young, emerging leader who deftly balanced forward-looking thoughtfulness with passion and charisma in his work at the Capitol and within his community,” said Connecticut House GOP leader Vin Candelora (R-North Branford). “His tragic passing is a devasting loss for the General Assembly, Middletown, and the State of Connecticut."
Williams was the first Black state lawmaker from Middletown. Previously, he served as city treasurer and director of Middletown’s Downtown Business District.
Williams’ reach also extended to our area. He served as director of advocacy and policy for Stamford Charter School for Excellence. The school’s CEO declined to comment Thursday.
"A beloved young man who accomplished so much in a short time,” said Rev. Moses Harvill, the longtime pastor at Cross Street AME Zion Church in Middletown, where Williams worshipped.
Williams was passionate about housing and racial justice, including the 2020 police accountability law.
"This is not about justice; this is about accountability and transparency. Period,” he argued on the House floor that year.
Recently retired state Sen. Will Haskell (D-Westport) said wrong-way crashes are all too common. The Connecticut Department of Transportation is now installing warning lights at more than a dozen ramps across Connecticut.
"This is a wake-up call,” said Haskell. "I won't be there. Unfortunately, Q's voice won't be there in the next session. But I'm hoping in his memory, the legislature continues to fund that important work."
Williams previously went by his birth name, Quentin Phipps. He legally changed it in February 2022 to honor his mother, Queen Williams, who goes by her maiden name.
A vigil is scheduled for Friday at 7 p.m. on the South Green in Middletown.

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