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UPDATED: Suffolk Cop Killed in Commack Crash

Patrick Curley, a member of the SCPD for 17 years, died Friday when his vehicle collided with a garbage truck.

An off-duty Suffolk County police officer was killed early Friday morning in a crash along Jericho Turnpike in Commack, police said.

Patrick Curley, of Huntington, was driving a sports utility vehicle westbound on Route 25, near Siracusa Boulevard, when it collided with a Winters Brothers garbage truck that was backing out of a business onto Route 25 at 3:33 a.m, according to police. 

Curley, 40, was pronounced dead at the scene by a physician assistant from the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner. The driver of the garbage truck, James Jarosch, 59, was not injured.

Curley was a member of the Suffolk County Police Department for 17 years.

Insp. Edward Brady, commander of the Second Precinct, said Curley was a dedicated officer. “He was well respected and much loved by officers here,” Brady said. “Everyone warmed up to him and enjoyed him. He always had the best interest of the community and the department.

”We lost an excellent officer and a  terrific person. His passing is a terrible loss for the Second Precinct and the department,” he added.

Brady said Curley enjoyed talking about, and “had obvious pride in his daughter.”

Curley had recently moved from overnight patrol duties in the Melville area to covering the Commack and Dix Hills area. Brady said Curley had been off from work for a couple of days when the accident occurred.

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Tony Farina, the Long Island district manager for Progressive Waste Solutionss, which owns Winters Bros Waste Systems, Inc., said that Jarosch has worked for the company for about eight years and has always been an upstanding individual, with a clean track record.

"He is an outstanding employee, probably one of our best. He comes in all of the time. His truck is always very clean. I have nothing bad to say about the gentleman," Farina said.

He said that the company is looking into how the accident occurred.

"The police are doing an investigation and we are also doing an investigation ourselves, but the way we understand it is that we were backing out of a business on the regular route and got rear ended by the vehicle."

Farina said that the company trucks all have back up alarms, cameras, lights and an audio mechanism to allow people to hear when they are backing up.

"As a company we extend our sympathies. Tragedies like this are an unfortunate part of what could happen. We take it very seriously, regardless of whose fault it was," he said.

The SUV was impounded for a safety check and the garbage truck was inspected by Motor Carrier at the scene. Jarosch was issued summonses for unsafe backing and equipment violation, police said.

Suffolk County police closed Jericho Turnpike in Commack in both directions until late Friday morning.

The investigation is continuing. Anyone with information on the crash is asked to contact Fourth Squad detectives at 631-854-8452 or call anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will remain confidential.

pbug56 January 17, 2013 at 03:58 AM
Deborah, I know I don't assume he was at fault; there is too much we just don't know now. MAYBE he was speeding, maybe he was distracted, maybe there was a blind spot or a shadow or the truck was not properly lit (or visible with reflectors). We don't know, and it's important that we get a complete report from SCPD. What drives the speculation is that this would have been a nearly empty road with what should have been decent visibility by headlight of a truck backing out of a lot. And we do know that SOME police officers are not always all that mindful personally, in their own driving behavior, of speed or traffic law - just as many other drivers are not. We need to know what happened to see what if anything we can do to prevent the same thing from happening again.
knee jerk January 18, 2013 at 05:39 PM
While I do not presume to know the facts, it is stupid (and probably illegal) to back out onto Jericho Typke, esp at 3:30 AM.
pbug56 January 18, 2013 at 06:37 PM
Huh? Probably the best time to do just that on a mostly quiet, empty road, if that is what you have to do for your pickups.
knee jerk January 20, 2013 at 01:39 PM
HUH? You'd be better off backing IN, rather than backing OUT. This way you could see any aproaching vehicles instead of blindly pulling out in front of them at 3:30am on a poorly lit road. Let's face it pbug56, you're hoping to see some sort of DWI or speeding involved in this.Never going to happen, in spite of any facts. Lets face it, them boys know how to take care of their own (thin blue line).
pbug56 January 20, 2013 at 02:10 PM
I agree that I'd rather back in and go out straight, but I don't know how things are setup at the location where garbage was being picked up. If it is the type of truck that loads from the front, there may have been no choice. They would pick middle of the night because the lot is empty, and the road is nearly empty, and assuming the truck has lights and reflectors, it ought to be visible backing out at quite a distance, unless the car driver is DUI or really speeding. But again, I don't know the situation.

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