Trooper Cunniff Dies After Thruway Car Accident
New York state trooper David W. Cunniff passed away Tuesday after sustaining injuries from an interstate crash that happened late Monday night.
Cunniff, 35, was rear ended by a tractor-trailer on exit 27 of I-90 after pulling over a vehicle for a traffic violation on the Thruway.
The truck driver, 65-year-old Gary Blakley, was driving in the right lane when he lost control for some unknown reason and ran off the road.
Cunniff was inside of his patrol car when the collision occurred and was partially thrown from the vehicle.
According to a statement by New York Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico, both vehicles were struck by the tractor-trailer.
“Dragging the troop car approximately 50 yards, pushing it off into an embankment, then striking Mr. Heller’s vehicle, also dragging it about 75 yards before coming to rest on top of the vehicle,” he said.
Cunniff was airlifted to Albany Medical Center where he was pronounced dead on Tuesday afternoon due to a traumatic head injury.
The driver of the car, 57-year-old Eric Heller, suffered minor injuries and is in fine condition. The truck driver did not sustain any injuries.
D’Amico confirms that no alcohol or drugs were involved but the cause of the accident is still under investigation.
Sadly enough, this isn’t the first time an NY trooper has died while pulled over on a highway:
“In 2011, New York state instituted its “move over” law that requires motorists to slow down and move over if possible when approaching police and emergency vehicles pulled over alongside the road. Three months after the law went into effect, Trooper Kevin Dobson was killed when he was hit by a vehicle while issuing a speeding ticket alongside a highway in suburban Buffalo.”
Cunniff, a nine-year state police veteran, has been with Thruway patrol since 2009. He leaves behind his wife and two sons.
A Facebook page in memory of the young trooper was created yesterday and already has over 4,000 likes.