Segment of state thruway in Erie County named in fallen trooper's honor
√ Trooper was gravely injured by a distracted driver in 2017; succumbed to his injuries in March
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday signed legislation (S.6091A/A.7432A) designating a state thruway bridge to honor the memory of Trooper Joseph Gallagher, who died in the line of duty after being struck by a distracted motorist. Located a short distance away from Exit 54, the bridge crosses over New York State Route 16 in West Seneca, the Erie County town where the deceased trooper resided.
"Trooper Gallagher dedicated his life to keeping his fellow New Yorkers safe and was actively assisting a disabled motorist when he was gravely injured by a distracted driver," Cuomo said. "His passing early this spring is yet another reminder of the selfless actions our state police and other first responders perform daily. We pay homage to Trooper Gallagher's life and ultimate sacrifice by designating this bridge in his honor."
Gallagher joined the State Police in 2014 and was previously assigned to Troop F and Troop T. He was last assigned to Troop L, working out of the State Police barracks in Brentwood.
In December 2017, Gallagher was assisting a disabled motorist on the Long Island Expressway at the entrance ramp to the Sagtikos Parkway when he was struck by a distracted driver. Though he initially survived the crash, he died of his injuries in March, and is survived by his wife, two children, parents, sister and brothers.
The driver of the vehicle who struck Gallagher was charged in connection with the crash. He later pleaded guilty to assault with criminal negligence.
New York State Sen. Patrick Gallivan said, "Trooper Gallagher grew up in South Buffalo and West Seneca and dedicated his life to helping others. He served our nation as a helicopter pilot with the Coast Guard before becoming a proud member of the State Police. Naming this bridge in his honor is one way to acknowledge his sacrifice and it will stand as a reminder to the community of his hard work and dedication."
Assembly Member Pat Burke said, "Naming a portion of the New York State Thruway after State Trooper Joseph Gallagher is the least we can do to honor the life of a fallen hero. Trooper Gallagher was working to bring the driver of a disabled vehicle to safety when he was struck by a distracted motorist in 2017. Sadly, he succumbed to those injuries this past March 2021. He was 38-years-old, a Buffalo native and Bishop Timon graduate. My condolences go out to Trooper Gallagher's wife, two children, his parents, and the extended Gallagher family in South Buffalo."