An Ottawa police officer who died in a motorcycle crash Tuesday night served several years in the Canadian military and joined the police service less than two years ago.

Vijayalayan Mathiyalaghan, 28, was killed in the single-vehicle crash on Tuesday night, CTV News has learned. The crash happened around 8:40 p.m. at the Highway 417-174 split.

"With great sadness, we share that one of our members passed away last evening after a single-vehicle collision," Ottawa police tweeted Wednesday morning. "The incident occurred off duty.”

Mathiyalaghan was hired to the Ottawa Police Service in November 2020 after studying police foundations at Algonquin College, sources told CTV News. He also served several years in the Canadian military.

Colleagues say he was always in a good mood and had an “infectious smile.”

Mathiyalaghan volunteered with the Ottawa Police Hoopstars program. A 2020 Instagram post from the program said he was born in Sri Lanka and grew up in Ottawa, was the youngest child in his family, coached youth basketball and was passionate about motorcycles.

"Our police family lost a brother last night," Ottawa Police Association interim president Brian Samuel said in a statement. Mathiyalaghan, he said, "had only been with us a short period but his generosity and good nature have left an indelible impression.

“We mourn the passing of our friend; we will miss his presence. The loss of someone so early in their career – what might he have become, what contributions to our police community would he have made.

"We support our brothers and sisters on A Platoon Central, those from his recent recruit class, and all those who knew him, in the difficulty of this loss."

Flags are at half-mast at all Ottawa police buildings on Wednesday.

The 417 eastbound on-ramp to the 174 was closed for several hours and reopened overnight. Ontario Provincial Police are investigating the crash because it happened on a provincially maintained roadway.