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Cops: Trooper hit by vehicle on ramp critical but stable

Trooper Joseph J. Gallagher remains in surgical intensive care unit at Southside Hospital after Monday’s accident.

Trooper Joseph J. Gallagher, 35, remained in critical

Trooper Joseph J. Gallagher, 35, remained in critical condition Friday, Dec. 22, 2017, after being hit by a vehicle on Sagtikos Parkway ramp. Photo Credit: State Police/News 12 Long Island

The New York state trooper struck by a vehicle Monday as he helped a motorist broken down on an entrance ramp to the Sagtikos Parkway remained in critical but stable condition Friday, officials said.

Trooper Joseph J. Gallagher continues to be treated in the surgical intensive care unit at Southside Hospital in Bay Shore, where he underwent surgery Monday night, State Police said.

“Troop L would like to thank the community for the outpouring of support for Trooper Gallagher, his family and the members of the New York State Police,” Maj. David Candelaria said Friday in a statement. “From the kind words, to the excellent medical care at Southside, to the generous acts of our neighbors, these have not gone unnoticed and have been greatly appreciated during this difficult time. We continue to ask for thoughts and prayers for Trooper Gallagher and his family.”

Gallagher, 35, suffered an “extreme, traumatic head injury” Monday afternoon when a vehicle struck him along a sharp turn on an overpass ramp to the southbound Sagtikos in the Commack area, police said.

Thomas H. Mungeer, president of the New York State Troopers Police Benevolent Association, said Gallagher is a native of the Buffalo suburb of West Seneca. The trooper has worked out of Long Island since January, after previous assignments with Troop F in upstate Middletown and Troop T, which patrols the New York State Thruway.

Mungeer called Gallagher “a reliable, dependable trooper” who does “what the men and women in the great uniform do every day across New York State.”

Gallagher served in the U.S. Coast Guard before becoming a state trooper in 2014. He is married and has young children.

The vehicle hit Gallagher at 2:32 p.m. after he responded to a dispatch call for a disabled vehicle in the left lane of the two-lane entrance ramp from the westbound Long Island Expressway, said Candelaria, the commander of Troop L in Farmingdale, speaking at a hospital news conference early Monday night.

The ramp has a “sharp, hairpin turn” that is “very, very dangerous,” he said.

Gallagher parked behind two disabled vehicles with his lights flashing, Candelaria said. He began setting up flares, Candelaria said, when two oncoming vehicles veered to the right to avoid Gallagher. The driver of a third vehicle “did not see the trooper” and struck him, Candelaria said.

“Preliminarily, it doesn’t look like it’s criminal,” Candelaria said, adding that in that area, the driver would have had “very limited” sight distance. The State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation, including its Collision Reconstruction Unit, is probing the crash.

Gallagher’s family “continues to ask for privacy,” police said Friday.

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