Ambulance companies will turn on their emergency lights Wednesday in honor of a state trooper who died last month from injuries sustained three years ago when a distracted driver struck him.
State Trooper Joseph Gallagher died March 26, three years after he was struck by a vehicle while helping a disabled motorist on a Sagtikos Parkway overpass in Commack, authorities said.
According to a statement released by the Sayville-based Community Ambulance Company, and the Brookhaven-based South Country Ambulance, their ambulances will flash emergency lights for one minute at noon Wednesday while Gallagher is being laid to rest in his hometown of West Seneca, outside Buffalo.
"To honor Trooper Gallagher’s service our two agencies will be turning on our red and blue flashing lights for one minute. … We hope that this act will not only show our appreciation of Trooper Gallagher’s service and our solidarity with the Law Enforcement, but also bringing community awareness to the dangers of driving while distracted," the statement said.
The companies also said, "We urge our Brothers and Sisters in Law Enforcement, Fire, EMS and Public Safety throughout Suffolk County to join us in this silent gesture and show of support."
Gregory Miglino, chief of the South Country Ambulance, said ambulance companies in Medford and Port Jefferson have agreed to participate.
On Dec. 18, 2017, Gallagher was struck by a vehicle while assisting the driver on the overpass from the westbound Long Island Expressway to the southbound Sagtikos Parkway. Gallagher, who was 38, was struck by a car driven by Jesse Cohen, who was distracted by three separate texting conversations, prosecutors said.
Gallagher, a father of two suffered a traumatic brain injury, lost the ability to walk, talk or eat without help.
Prosecutors say Cohen sent and received dozens of text messages, and he had several social media apps open, in the 20 minutes leading to the crash.
Cohen, 24, of West Islip, pleaded guilty to third-degree assault with criminal negligence. He was sentenced to 30 days time served, three years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service.