Rookie Police Officer Dies In Single Car Crash

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Orlando police continue to mourn the loss of one of their own. Rookie officer Dante Perales was killed Saturday in a car crash. Sadly, Perales came to Orlando to escape the memories of death that haunted him in New York City.

Perales was with the Orlando Police Department less than a year. His family and friends would have been celebrating his 30th birthday Monday, February 7.

It was Perales' dream of becoming a police officer that brought him to Orlando about a year ago. The rookie cop had been an EMT in New York for nine years.

But his passion for public service came to a sudden halt over the weekend. Perales was on his way home from work early Saturday morning, when his car left the road on I-4 at Kirkman Road, hit a guardrail and killed him.

"He was a survivor of 9-11. He was in tower two when tower one came down. It's a testament to his courage and commitment to pubic safety to continue in this profession," says Sgt. Brian Gilliam, OPD.

Orlando Police Department’s traffic homicide division is investigating the crash and his family and friends can't comprehend how something like this could happen to someone so dedicated.

A memorial service is scheduled for Tuesday at the St. James Church at Orange and Robinson in downtown Orlando. His body will be flown to New York and buried in Long Island.