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Off-duty Niagara police officer dies in Welland crash

An off-duty police officer with the Niagara Regional Police Service has died after the motorcycle he was riding collided with a car on Highway 406 in Welland, police confirm.

Const. Joe Mellen was going south near Woodland Road, when his bike collided head-on with a northbound Pontiac Sunfire at around 5:30 a.m. on Friday.

At a news conference later Friday morning, Chief Jeff McGuire said Mellen, 33, was on his way home from a 12-hour night shift at the Niagara Falls detachment at the time.

The driver of the car, a 24-year-old Welland woman, was airlifted to a hospital in Hamilton with serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.

McGuire said Mellen was a nine-year veteran of the force and a father of two. He leaves behind a son and daughter — between five and seven years old — as well as his parents and a sister.

“He was a fun guy to be around,” the chief said. “He was one of those guys who will be sorely missed.”

Ontario provincial police are investigating.

There have been at least five other fatal motorcycle crashes since July 31.

On Wednesday night, a motorcyclist in his 30s died after a collision on Highway 400, north of the Highway 401. On Tuesday morning, a motorcycle collided with an SUV on Airport Road in Mississauga, killing the 29-year-old rider.

On Monday, a man crashed his bike in Wasaga and later died of his injuries. Also on that same day, a motorcycle collided with another vehicle in East Gwillimbury. A woman, who was a passenger on the motorcycle, died of her injuries in hospital.

On July 31, in Vaughan, a 47-year-old motorcyclist died in a crash involving a truck, and the latter was charged with dangerous driving causing death.