Local residents on Thursday afternoon will have an opportunity to pay their final respects to rookie New Orleans Police Department officer Ricardo Silva Jr., who was killed in an off-duty motorcycle crash over the weekend.
E.J. Fielding Funeral Home at 2260 W. 21st Ave. in Covington will hold a viewing of Silva beginning at 3 p.m., and a prayer service will follow at 6, NOPD said. Silva, who was 26, will then be buried Sunday in his hometown of Portage, Indiana.
Nicknamed “Jesse,” Silva was a soccer standout before graduating from his hometown’s high school and becoming a member of the police department in Crown Point, Indiana, his father, Rick Silva, told The Times of Northwest Indiana newspaper. His fiancée Taylor Stevens’ job brought the couple to the New Orleans area, Rick Silva told the paper.
In the New Orleans area, the younger Silva briefly worked as a patrolman for the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff’s Office at the beginning of 2016.
He later joined the New Orleans Police Department, graduated from the agency’s training academy late last year. He had been patrolling neighborhoods such as Bywater and the Lower 9th Ward, and Police Superintendent Michael Harrison said Silva was considered "a rising star" in the department.
On Saturday night, Silva was riding his motorcycle south on La. 1082 – Old Military Road – when he crashed into the side of a 2017 Acura MDX that was heading in the opposite direction and turning left into a private drive. He was thrown from his Honda and died after being taken to a local hospital for treatment.
There was no indication that either Silva or the Acura’s driver, 52-year-old Jennifer P. Robinson, were impaired. Silva was wearing a proper helmet.
Silva and Stevens were supposed to wed on Nov. 15, after he proposed to her at his NOPD academy graduation ceremony in a moment that was captured on a widely-distributed social media video.
The older Silva told his local paper that his son was settling into the life he and Stevens were building, having just bought a house, a truck and the motorcycle he was riding the night he died.
“I could not have asked for a better boy,” Rick Silva said. “I loved him. I was very proud of him.”
Silva's family has set up an account on the website GoFundMe to help cover funeral costs.
In just 80 days, New Orleans Police Officer Ricardo Silva Jr. and his fiancée were due to take vows to stay together for the rest of their lives.