An off-duty NYPD officer was killed in an early morning crash on the Long Island Expressway, Suffolk County police said Monday.
NYPD Officer Joseph Pritchard was pronounced dead on the scene after his 2008 Dodge pickup truck was struck by a 2001 International box truck, police said. Pritchard's truck was stopped in the westbound right lane of the LIE near Exit 51 at 2:23 a.m., Suffolk police said.
Suffolk police said it is unknown why the truck driven by Pritchard, 30, of North Babylon, was stopped in the right lane. The truck that struck his vehicle was owned by Barakat Trucking and driven by Eduardo Garcia. Both vehicles caught fire after impact.
Garcia, 34, of the Bronx, was taken to a hospital for injuries that were not life-threatening, police said.
Pritchard, who played for NYPD's football team, lived alone with his dog in North Babylon, according to his neighbors. A dedicated, hard-working officer who often worked overtime, he was friendly and always said hello to everyone on the block, neighbors said.
"Everyone on this block is pretty much the same," said neighbor Bob Sullivan. "They think of each other, they think of their homes and they think of their neighborhood. Joe was that way. He was a young guy."
"It's horrible," said Bob Ferris. "He was a good guy, he was a good neighbor."
The fatal accident is under investigation and detectives ask anyone with information to call (631) 854-8252 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 220-TIPS.