An NYPD officer from West Islip returning home from work was fatally injured early Thursday when his car struck another vehicle and overturned several times on the Southern State Parkway in South Farmingdale, State Police said.
Joseph Capo, 27, was pronounced dead at Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow after the 12:56 a.m. crash on the eastbound side of the parkway, east of Exit 31, State Police spokesman Frank Bandiero said.
Capo lost control of his 2004 Volkswagen Jetta "for unknown reasons" and struck a 2001 Cadillac traveling in the same direction before flipping several times, Bandiero said.
The Cadillac's driver, Laurine Noble, 54, of Deer Park, had minor injuries, he said. Noble could not be reached for comment.
Capo was returning home from a shift at the Ninth Precinct in Manhattan's East Village, Bandiero said. Capo joined the NYPD in July 2011, a department spokesman said.
The officer's death brought shock, sadness and tears to residents of the tight-knit cul-de-sac where Capo lived with his parents and two younger brothers for about a decade.
"He's the sweetest kid," said next-door neighbor Roy Rodenburg, 85, a retired railroad clerk. "When it snowed, he was the first one over here. . . . He'd do his own driveway, then he'd start shoveling here."
Several plainclothes NYPD officers and a police van were at the family's home Thursday. One officer said no one from the family was available for comment and they had requested privacy.
Rodenburg said one of Capo's two younger brothers told him of Capo's passing. "He said his brother was in heaven," Rodenburg said, recounting that the two had embraced. "He was consoling me more than I was consoling him."
Rodenburg, who's lived in his home for 38 years, said Capo's father, Thomas, is a retired NYPD officer, and his mother, Michelle, is a teacher.
"They're wonderful people," Rodenburg said. "You couldn't ask for better neighbors."
Another neighbor, Mary Anne Lettieri, answered her door Thursday afternoon in tears. "I can't even talk about it," she said. "Just the loveliest family." She said the family is "devastated. We all are."
State Police closed the eastbound parkway for more than six hours to investigate the crash, which remains under investigation. Any witnesses are asked to call State Police at 631-756-3300.
With Anthony M. DeStefano
and Ellen Yan