Family, friends, colleagues pay respects to fallen Harford sheriff's deputy

Family, friends and colleagues began paying their respects Monday afternoon to Harford County Sheriff's Office Cpl. Charles Licato, who died in a car accident Thursday morning on his way home from work.

Monday was the first day of viewings for the fallen officer, and dozens of people came and went from McComas Funeral Home in Abingdon, where American flags lined the corner and the flags few at half-staff.

Monday's viewing was scheduled from 2 to 9 p.m., with a second viewing Tuesday, also from 2 to 9 p.m.

Harford County Sheriff Jesse Bane, who is expected to speak at Cpl. Licato's funeral, and members of his command staff are expected to attend the viewing as a group Tuesday.

Cpl. Licato, 34, a 14-year-veteran of the sheriff's office, driving north around 3:15 a.m. in his unmarked police car, a 2010 Chevy Impala, on Route 1 near Shuresville Road when he crossed the center line into the opposite lane and hit a steel pole on the front driver's side then two large trees, according to Monica Worrell, a sheriff's office spokesperson. He did not appear to be speeding or using any electronic devices, she added. And he was wearing his seatbelt.

Four sheriff's office motorcycles along with a marked and unmarked SUV sat in front of the funeral home Monday. Members of the honor guard greeted visitors as they entered.

Among those at Monday's viewing was Cpl. Licato's cousin, Charles Brocato, of Joppa.

"Really, there's so much to say at once, it's hard to say in words," Brocato said. "He was a great son, a great brother, a great uncle."

He was always with his two nephews, Brocato added.

Robert Smith, who was talking with Brocato, said he didn't see Cpl. Licato that much anymore, but his family and the Licato's used to get together used to get together with all the kids.

"You just take so much for granted," Smith said.

Among those paying their respects was Charlie Schruefer, who retired from the sheriff's office after 38 years.

"It's a family. Whether you know them a lot or you know them a little, you show respect for them and the agency," Schruefer said.

More than 1,000 people are expected to attend Cpl. Licato's funeral Wednesday morning at Mountain Christian Church in Joppa.

Bane will be speaking, along with Cpl. Alistair Dais, one of Cpl. Licato's best friends on the job, as well as Cpl. Licato's brother-in-law and sister-in-law and his mother, Barb Licato.

Traffic around Mountain Christian and between Mountain Christian and Bel Air Memorial Gardens will be tied up between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. for the services Wednesday. Drivers are urged to make plans to take alternate routes.

The funeral procession will move from Mountain Christian Church to Belair Road to the Bel Air Bypass north on Route 1, exiting at Route 924/Rock Spring Road to Bel Air Memorial Gardens.

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