A 25-year-old NYPD officer from Valley Stream was killed on the New Jersey Turnpike early Sunday after he was struck by a hit-and-run driver, officials said.
The NYPD and the New Jersey State Police identified the officer as Vincent Harrison. New Jersey State Police, who said Harrison was pronounced dead at the scene, said they had located the driver of the car that struck Harrison and were determining “appropriate charges.”
The officer’s mother, who answered the door at her son’s Valley Stream home Sunday night, confirmed his death. She didn’t give her name and said only: “I really don’t want to say anything right now. . . . Listen, I don’t have any details of what happened with my son.”
A pair of Nassau police officers stood guard outside the home Sunday night.
Harrison’s cousin Drexel Michael Berry of Hempstead said he was the “nicest, funniest and most kindhearted guy you would ever meet.
“He was my best friend and a person I could always depend on,” Berry told Newsday.
Harrison, who was off-duty, was assigned to the 100th Precinct in Rockaway Beach, Queens, the NYPD spokesman said. The spokesman said Harrison had been on the force for less than two years.
“One of our officers was unfortunately killed in New Jersey,” the spokesman said.
The precinct’s Twitter’s page announced the death Sunday morning: “We are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of one of our own, may you rest in peace P.O. Vincent Harrison”
The New Jersey State Police confirmed in a Facebook posting that they were investigating “a fatal pedestrian crash” that killed Harrison.
The department said that at 3 a.m. Sunday troopers responded to a crash on the southbound outer lanes of the New Jersey Turnpike in Elizabeth.
“Based on the preliminary investigation, Vincent Harrison was operating a 2013 Chevrolet Cruze in the right center lane of the roadway. A 2003 Ford Escape was traveling in the right lane. In the area of milepost 102, Harrison changed lanes into the right lane and a collision occurred. The Harrison vehicle came to a final rest on the right shoulder while the Ford was in the right and right-center lanes,” the department said on Facebook.
“Harrison exited his vehicle and was near the Ford when an Infiniti came upon the scene and struck Harrison, who was in the roadway,” the department said. “After stopping at the scene briefly, the Infiniti departed the scene prior to State Police arrival.”
The posting said Harrison sustained “severe bodily injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene at 3:28 a.m.”.
The driver of the Infiniti was located, the department said, and “State troopers are working with the Union County Prosecutor’s Office to determine appropriate charges.”
Dominique Theodore, who lives across the street from the officer, lamented his death at such a young age.
“This is so sad, very sad,” said Theodore, 48. “He was so young. Life, you don’t know when it’s your time.”
She said she would see the officer in uniform and say hello from time to time. She estimated he lived there about three years.
“We felt safe that we had an officer on the block,” she said.