Watch CBS News

Roderick Jackson, National Grid worker killed in Waltham crash, remembered as "the heart of this family"

National Grid worker killed in Waltham crash remembered as selfless, talented
National Grid worker killed in Waltham crash remembered as selfless, talented 02:17

WALTHAM – Roderick Jackson has been identified as the National Grid worker who was hit and killed in a Wednesday crash that also claimed the life of a veteran Waltham police officer.

Jackson and two other National Grid employees were working on Totten Pond Road along with Waltham police officer Paul Tracey, who was serving as construction detail.

Investigators said Peter Simon, a 54-year-old from Woodsville, New Hampshire attempted to make a U-turn and slammed into an oncoming car. Police said Simon drove away, fatally striking Jackson and Tracey. One other National Grid worker was taken to the hospital for treatment.

Simon allegedly stole a police cruiser at knifepoint after the crash. He was taken into custody about half a mile away following another crash.

Jackson's mother and brother spoke outside of court following Simon's arraignment.

"Behind bars he has a life. I don't have my son. He took our treasure chest. Unforgivable," his mother Norma Asprilla said.

Roderick Jackson, a National Grid worker killed in a Waltham crash. Family Photo

Jackson was a 36-year-old from Cambridge. 

"I'll tell you right now he was a legend. He was the heart of this family, of this entire family. That's who he was," Jackson's brother Manuel Asprilla-Hassan said. "Anybody who knows him, the most selfless man ever. He was more than just my brother, he was my father. That's the heart of this family, that's what was taken from us."

Joe Garcia, a National Grid worker said he knew Jackson, describing him as "a great father."

"He had ambition, great ambition. And this person took it all away from him," Garcia said.

Garcia also spoke about the dangers utility workers face during roadside work.

"Tragic. This is what we have to deal with as utility workers and police officers. I just pray for the families," he said. "The job itself for the utility workers is we're always in traffic areas. You guys see us every day out there. You guys know what it is. Just slow down, people. I don't know what exactly happened, they're still doing the investigations."

National Grid released a statement following Jackson's death.

"Today, National Grid is mourning the loss of our colleague, Roderick Jackson. Roderick joined National Grid in early 2021, working as a technician on our gas operations team. He was a highly-respected, talented and selfless teammate who worked extremely hard, took on extra duties and had built strong friendships with members on his team. He was always willing to lend a hand, roll up his sleeves and help a colleague. His loss is deeply felt throughout the company and he will be sorely missed."  

Simon appeared in Waltham District Court on Thursday. He is charged with failure to stop for police, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, larceny of a motor vehicle, armed robbery, assault with a dangerous weapon, two counts of manslaughter and leaving the scene of an accident after causing personal injury and death. Simon pleaded not guilty to the charges.

A judge ordered Simon held until a hearing next week. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.