Prosecutors say the driver who seriously injured a New York State trooper in a crash on an overpass on Long Island nearly three years ago has pleaded guilty.
Jesse Cohen, 24, of West Islip, is expected to serve 30 days in jail, as well as three years’ probation and 1,000 hours of community service for the December 2017 incident that left then 35-year-old Trooper Joseph Gallagher "severely disabled" with traumatic brain injury, according to the Westchester County District Attorney.
State police said Gallagher had stopped to help a pair of motorists who had broken down on Long Island Expressway's exit ramp to the Sagtikos State Parkway when he was struck by Cohen's vehicle.
Prosecutors said Wednesday that Cohen admitted he was distracted by text messages before the devastating crash. Data from Cohen’s phone showed he sent and received dozens of text messages in separate conversations for 20 minutes before he drove into Gallagher.
The three-year veteran assigned to Troop L in Brentwood was taken to Southside Hospital in Bay Shore where he had to go under surgery for head injuries. Gallagher remains under constant care in a facility because he cannot walk, talk or even eat on his own.
"The trooper's life will never be the same. Our thoughts remain with him and his family." District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. said, "If anything can come of this tragedy, it's reinforcing for everyone 'Don't text and drive.'"
Cohen was remanded into custody at the Suffolk County Jail to begin serving his term. His sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 9.