A state trooper died today after his police cruiser was struck by a tractor trailer on the Thruway near Amsterdam last night, State Police said today.
Trooper David W. Cunniff, 35, of Duanesburg, Schenectady County, was partially ejected from his vehicle after it was struck during a traffic stop on the Thruway at about 8 p.m.
The Associated Press said the accident occurred near Exit 27 in Amsterdam. The car driver was in fair condition, and the truck driver wasn’t injured, AP said. State Police said neither alcohol nor the weather played a role in the crash, AP reported.
State Police said the tractor trailer was traveling eastbound in the right lane and drove off the roadway for an unknown reason, striking the two vehicles at the traffic stop.
Cunniff was airlifted to Albany Medical Center where he died this afternoon. He was a nine-year veteran of the State Police, including time on the Executive Services Detail at the Capitol.
He was assigned to Troop T in February 2009.
Cunniff is is survived by his wife, Amy, and two sons, 6-year-old Caleb and 4-year-old Zachary.
Funeral arrangements will follow, police said.
Updated: Here’s a statement from Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who met with the trooper’s family last night after the crash.
“It is with a heavy heart that we learn New York State Police Trooper David W. Cunniff has passed away as a result of serious injuries from a vehicle accident while he was on duty last night,” Cuomo said. “I send my deepest condolences to Trooper Cunniff’s family and friends during this painful time. Trooper Cunniff was only 35 years old and had already dedicated nine years of service to the State Police. He leaves behind a wife and two young sons who I hope will remember their father as a true hero here in New York. On behalf of all New Yorkers, we are deeply grateful for his service, and his loved ones are in our thoughts and prayers.”
Updated 2x: The statement from the New York State Troopers PBA.
“The New York State Troopers PBA mourns the loss of Trooper David Cunniff, a dedicated public servant who made the ultimate sacrifice, and more importantly, a loving father and family member and a devoted friend. Tragically, Trooper Cunniff is the 14th member of the New York State Police to die in the line of duty since 2006, and the fourth line-of-duty death in the New York State Police in 2013.
As Trooper Cunniff’s tragic death illustrates, the job of a New York State Trooper is difficult and dangerous, and no day is ever routine.
Troopers share a unique bond and as such, form a tight-knit family across New York state as well as the entire country. Any time a Trooper is injured or killed, all Troopers, both active and retired, feel sorrow and empathy.
The PBA, as the labor union, will assist with arrangements for the line-of-duty death funeral, as well as assist Trooper Cunniff’s family and fellow Troopers with whatever needs arise.
Our thoughts and prayers are with Trooper Cunniff’s family, friends and fellow Troopers. We would also like to thank the physicians, nurses and the entire staff at Albany Medical Center Hospital for their assistance and support during this most difficult time.”