A veteran police officer responding to a call died Sunday after a drunken driver slammed into his patrol car causing it to burst into flames, Suffolk County police said.
The driver, Jose Borbon, was arrested on a driving while intoxicated charge -- his second in two months, police said. He is expected to be arraigned on Monday.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Richard Dormer called the crash “a sad reminder of the dangers police officers face each and every day.”
Officer Glen Ciano was on his way to help a colleague with a traffic stop when Borbon's car plowed into his vehicle at about 4:15 a.m. in Commack, police said.
The impact spun Ciano's car around and hurled it into a traffic pole, sparking a fire that engulfed his car so fast there was no chance of rescuing the officer, Suffolk County Chief of Detectives Dominick Varrone told reporters. Borbon, 23, was unhurt.
Borbon had been arrested on a DWI charge Jan. 4 in neighboring Nassau County, police there said; that case is pending.
Suffolk and Nassau police were uncertain whether Borbon had a lawyer. A message left with his family was not immediately returned.
Ciano, 45, had been on the Suffolk County force for 22 years.
“This officer made the ultimate sacrifice protecting and serving the people of Suffolk County,” County Executive Steve Levy said.
Officers stood in formation and saluted as Ciano's body was brought to the county medical examiner's office, and flags were lowered to half-staff outside the police department he had served for more than 20 years, police said.
“We all suffered a great loss,” Suffolk County Police Benevolent Association President Jeff Frayler told Newsday, describing Ciano as “a great police officer, a great family man, a great husband and father.”
Ciano was the 22nd Suffolk police officer killed in the line of duty.
Last May, Nassau County Police Officer Kenneth Baribault, Jr., 30, was seriously injured when an apparent drunken driver smashed into his patrol car on the Long Island Expressway.