A retired Portland police officer and former United States Marine has been identified as the man killed Monday night in a motorcycle crash in South Portland.

Robert J. Hawkins, 52, died from injuries he sustained when his motorcycle collided with a car near the 1900 block of Broadway, South Portland police said Wednesday. Hawkins’ identity was not released until his family was located out of state and notified of his death.

Robert “Jeff” Hawkins

Hawkins and a 35-year-old woman from South Portland were riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle on the exit 3 ramp of I-295 around 6 p.m. when it crashed into a Kia sedan. Both riders were wearing helmets, but were thrown to the ground.

The woman’s name and relationship to Hawkins was not been released by police, but the Maine Association of Police identified her as Hawkins’ wife, Erin. She remains hospitalized and is listed in stable condition. She was initially listed in critical condition, police said.

The driver of the Kia, 24-year-old Ahmed Maadi, was transported to a local hospital with non-life threatening injuries. He has been cited for a moving traffic violation, police said.

The cause of the crash remains under investigation, but it does not appear drugs or alcohol contributed, according to police.

Hawkins, who lived in South Portland, was commonly known as “Jeff” and affectionately known as “Hawk” by those who knew him well, said Det. Sgt. Christopher Todd of the South Portland Police Department.

Hawkins retired from the Portland Police Department in 2018 after 18 years of service. He was also a U.S. Marine.

The entire Portland Police Department is mourning the loss of Hawkins, Chief Frank Clark said in a statement Wednesday evening. After serving in the Marines, Hawkins joined the Portland Police Department in 2000, Clark said. He earned the nickname Hawk during his time in Portland.

“Hawk was a well-respected member of this department, who served this community with commitment and honor,” Clark said. “He was the epitome of a ‘cop’s cop’ and this has dealt a devastating blow to not only our PPD family, but to the many friends and colleagues Jeff had around the state of Maine.”

Hawkins served the Portland Police Department’s Patrol Division, and was also a senior lead officer in the Community Policing Unit during his 18-year career. He was a member of the department’s Special Reaction Team, as well as the department’s Honor Guard. Clark said Portland police officers will be wearing mourning bands in his memory.

“Like many, we are struggling to come to grips, and words, to express the loss of an incredible and devoted brother, friend and husband. We are set back in trying to find the best way to process our loss as well as support Jeff’s family and his wife, Erin, who continues to fight her injuries sustained in the accident as well,” the Maine Association of Police posted Wednesday on Facebook.

The tribute described Hawkins as “a good man, a cop’s cop, a brother to many, and a friend to all.”

“You will have to go far and wide to find an individual who personified what we hold dear in our profession as Jeff Hawkins did. Terms such as duty, honor, service, compassion, and fraternal concern were more than just generic or obligatory words to Jeff; they were the basis of a life serving a greater cause and defending others who may not have been able to defend themselves,” the post said.

In 2017, Hawkins was given the Larry Gross Cop’s Award by the Maine Association of Police, a selection that needed little consideration because of Hawkins’ “immeasurable impact” on his fellow officers, according to the association.

In a personal note at the end of the tribute, Paul Gaspar, executive director of the association, wrote of the long conversations he had with Hawkins about their experiences.

“I was blessed to be a regular recipient of his ‘Buddy Checks’ as many were, and although we were almost the same age he always greeted me like a younger brother; with a headlock and obligatory older brother ‘nuggie.’ They hurt like hell and pulled out what little hair I have left on top, but I’ll miss them and I wouldn’t decry a single one of them,” he wrote.

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