MTA: Officer was reopening lower level to traffic
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A cop was struck by a car and was critically injured while working to reopen the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to traffic following overnight construction on Sunday, according to Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials.
Officer Thomas Choi, an MTA Bridges and Tunnels cop, was listed in critical but stable condition in Staten Island University North Hospital on Monday.
Choi had parked his wrecker truck near the entrance to the Brooklyn-bound lower level of the bridge next to the facility administration building when he was struck by a Nissan Maxima with New Jersey plates at around 7:45 a.m. on Sunday, officials said.
The lower level of the bridge is closed at midnight on weekends and reopens around 8 a.m. Choi was in the process of removing barrels blocking the roadway when he was struck by the car.
Electronic message signs and red lights showing the roadway was closed were in place when the accident occurred, MTA officials said.
The car struck Choi, sending him flying into the windshield. The officer was then thrown about 10 feet to the ground, according to MTA officials, who said he suffered severe pelvic and head injuries and was unconscious when he was taken by ambulance to the hospital.
The driver, a 26-year-old woman from Bayonne, remained at the scene. The cause of the accident is under investigation by the NYPD Collision Investigation Squad. The driver and four passengers inside the car were not injured.
“The entire Bridges and Tunnels family is saddened by this tragic event," Bridges and Tunnels President Jim Ferrara said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Officer Choi, his family, and all of his colleagues who work with him daily,” he said.
Choi, 61, lives on Staten Island and joined MTA Bridges and Tunnels in January 2003.
In an interview with the Staten Island Advance, Daniel DeCrescenzo, the MTA’s director of central operations, described Choi as a devoted worker who did his job well day in a day out.
The Brooklyn-bound lower level of the bridge was reopened to traffic at around 10:30 a.m. on Sunday following the initial phase of the police investigation.