Senator Gallivan Dedicates ‘Trooper Joseph Gallagher Memorial Bridge’

West Seneca Thruway Bridge Named in Honor of Fallen Trooper

Senator Patrick M. Gallivan, (R-C, Elma) and Assemblyman Patrick Burke (D, Buffalo) joined representatives of the New York State Police, local officials and family members in dedicating a West Seneca bridge in honor of Trooper Joseph Gallagher, who died in the line of duty after being struck by a distracted motorist. The thruway bridge is located near Exit 54 and crosses over New York State Route 16 in West Seneca, the town where the deceased trooper grew up.  

Gallagher joined the State Police in 2014.  He was assigned to Troop F and Troop T before joining Troop L, working out of the State Police barracks in Brentwood.

In December 2017, Trooper Gallagher was assisting a disabled motorist on the Long Island Expressway when he was struck by a distracted driver. Though he initially survived the crash, he died of his injuries in March 2021.  He is survived by his wife, two children, parents, sister and brothers.

“Trooper Gallagher grew up in South Buffalo and West Seneca and dedicated his life to serving the people of New York State,” Senator Gallivan said.  “In fact, he was helping a fellow citizen when he was gravely injured.  He represented the very best of the State Police and dedicating this bridge in his honor is one way we can acknowledge his sacrifice.  It will serve as a reminder to the community of his hard work and dedication.” 

“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,” said Assemblyman Patrick Burke.  “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.”

"Trooper Joseph Gallagher was a decorated member of the New York State Police at the time he was struck by a motor vehicle being operated by a driver who was illegally using his cell phone and not watching the road,” said George J. Mohl, Major-Troop Commander, Troop L Headquarters. “The debilitating injuries that Trooper Gallagher suffered in this December 2017 collision resulted in his tragic death almost three and a half years later.  Joe was a family man who proudly served the people of Long Island, where he made his home.  His senseless death effected so many lives and it is only appropriate that we memorialize his life by proudly displaying his name in a location that will be seen by thousands of motorists every day as a reminder of his sacrifice and in honor of his service to the people of the State of New York.” 

In addition to Major Mohl, other officials from the New York State Police in attendance at Tuesday’s dedication included First Deputy Superintendent Steven Nigrelli, Field Commander Richard Allen, Staff Inspector James Hall and Troop A Major Eugene Staniszewski.  West Seneca Police Chief Edward Baker, Assistant Chief William Leitzel and Captain James Unger also attended.

Prior to joining the New York State Police, Gallagher served as a rescue helicopter pilot for the United States Coast Guard, stationed along the Great Lakes in Detroit, Michigan.


 

The driver of the vehicle that struck Trooper Gallagher was charged in connection with the crash. He later pleaded guilty to assault with criminal negligence.