CROMWELL, Conn. — A Connecticut state representative was assassinated overnight in a wrong-way accident after attending the governor’s inaugural ball and his own swearing-in ceremony for a third term, House Democratic leaders said Thursday.

Quentin Williams, a Middletown Democrat known as «Q,» was killed in the crash on Route 9 in Cromwell.

He was 39 years old.

State police said both drivers were killed and one of the vehicles was completely engulfed in flames. State police have not yet released the names of the victims.

Connecticut State Representative Quentin “Q” Willams.
Connecticut State Representative Quentin “Q” Willams.CT House Democrats

House Speaker Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, and Majority Leader Jason Rojas, D-East Hartford, released a statement saying Williams’ family had announced the lawmaker’s death.

«I’m in shock,» Ritter said. “Q was my dear friend and I am scarred by the sudden loss of him. We will have time to reflect on Q as a legislator in the coming weeks, but at this time I am deeply sorry for my friend and sending all my love to Carrissa, Queen and the Q family. Q will be missed by all.»

Legislative activities on Thursday were canceled and the Legislative Office Building was closed in response. Governor Ned Lamont ordered the flags lowered to half mast.

Williams, the new co-chair of the General Assembly Committee on Labor and Public Employees, was the first African-American to represent Middletown in the General Assembly, according to a biography on his legislative website.

Before being elected to the legislature, Williams served as Middletown’s city treasurer after leading the city’s planning and zoning commission. He attended Middletown schools, earning a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bryant University and a master’s degree in public administration from Villanova University, his website says.

«Rep. Williams truly embodied the phrase larger than life,» Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim said in a statement. «His laugh, smile and presence were felt in every space shared with him. His passing is a true loss for our community. A light has been dimmed today.”