'We feel like we knew him.' Crowds await procession in North Adams

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Lynn Riordan and Michael Riordan wait at the Hairpin Turn for the motorcade with officer Bill Evans.

The motorcade is making its way west on Route 2. People have gathered at the infamous hairpin turn overlooking the city of North Adams, to be among the first to greet the procession carrying the body of the late William “Billy” Evans.  They include Lynn Riordan and Michael Riordan.

Carolyn Rousseau came from Pittsfield to North Adams to pay her respects, joined by her husband, Ron. “We didn’t know Billy him but we feel like we knew him,” Carolyn Rousseau said. She was emotional watching C-SPAN on Tuesday. “I’ve just been reading everything about him, how he cheered everybody up.” Her friend, Catherine Dellea, and her husband, Paul, of North Adams turned out.

Catherine Dellea said she lived near Billy Evan’s mother as a kid and remembered Billy’s father selling lamb tongues for £3 a jar. “She probably doesn’t remember me, but I remember her, and I think people should come out to support a patriot. I’ve been thinking about it a lot these days.

You know that person … And as a mother, you feel for her. Especially when you have grandkids, you think, that could be you.”

Public safety crews turn out to honor Evans all along I-91

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Firefighters and police officers offer salutes to the late William “Billy” Evans as the motorcade passes through Longmeadow, Mass., on I-91.

As the motorcade arrived in Massachusetts on I-91 from Bradley International Airport, it passed under a bridge on Bark Haul Road in Longmeadow. 

Atop that overpass, nearly two dozen firefighters and police officers offered salutes, as two ladder trucks held a draped American flag. A few minutes further north, the motorcade passed beneath a crew from the Springfield Fire Department, including seven members who stood atop a ladder truck. Some vehicles in the motorcade departed after the procession left Connecticut.

More than a dozen vehicles are continuing on toward Berkshire County as of 7 p.m. The motorcade includes state police cruisers and motorcycles and vehicles representing North Adams police, Pittsfield police and the Berkshire County sheriff’s department. At least one helicopter overhead has been tracking the route as well.

Police can be seen on the highway median, pausing to salute Evans and the entourage. Word is clearly out. People are standing at overpasses all along I-91. 

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Members of the Springfield Fire Department stand on a Route 20A overpass, including seven firefighters on a ladder truck.

Airport departure swift after plane arrives 

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A hearse carrying the casket of the late William “Billy” Evans, the U.S.

Capitol Police officer killed on duty April 2,  prepares to head Wednesday evening to Berkshire County.  

The jet carrying the body of the late William “Billy” Evans, the U.S. Capitol Police officer killed in the line of duty April 2, has arrived at Bradley International Airport. A motorcade this evening will escort a hearse carrying Evans on the journey back to his home town of North Adams, and then to a funeral home in Adams.

The Eagle will provide updates of the motorcade’s trip to Berkshire County, where people plan to gather to honor the late police officer.

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Vehicles head Wednesday out onto the tarmac at Bradley International Airport, part of the motorcade that will bring the body of the late William “Billy” Evans back to Berkshire County. 

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A hearse bearing the emblem of the United States Capitol Police waits at Bradley International Airport for the aircraft bearing the body of the late William “Billy” Evans. 

People gathered along the motorcade’s route from Bradley to I-91. Eagle staffer Stephanie Zollshan is following the procession. She reports: “Tons of people lining the streets, saluting, waving, flags as we go.”

Where to go to witness Thursday’s funeral procession

On Thursday, people can pay their respects to Evans by gathering on Park Street in Adams at 1 p.m. to witness his funeral procession.

The funeral and burial are private, but the public can watch the procession go by on Park Street from St. Stanislaus Kostka Church to Bellevue Cemetery, where Evans will be buried beside his father, Howard. Adams officials said Wednesday that people who gather are asked to wear masks and practice social distancing.

The cemetery will be closed to the public from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.