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Trooper Cunniff dies after Thruway crash

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Albany/HV: Trooper Cunniff dies after Thruway crash
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Trooper David Cunniff was killed during an accident on the Thruway on Monday night. Our Megan Cruz reports.

ALBANY, N.Y. -- A moment of silence was held at the beginning of a K-9 graduation ceremony on Tuesday in to remember Trooper David Cunniff.

During a routine traffic stop near exit 27 on the Thruway, Trooper Cunniff pulled over Eric Heller, 57, for speeding. Shortly after, a tractor trailer rear ended Cunniff's parked car.

"Dragging the troop car approximately 50 yards, pushing it off into an embankment, then striking Mr. Heller's vehicle, also dragging it about 75 yards before coming to rest on top of the vehicle," explained New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico.

Trooper Cunniff died from the injuries he sustained during the accident.

D'Amico said, "He was unconscious when he was removed from the troop car, never regained consciousness, and as I said, he suffered massive head trauma."

New York State Police broke the news to people on Tuesday morning. D'Amico says it appeared the tractor trailer was in the left lane, and drifted right, before it hit the two cars on the shoulder.

"It appears weather was not a factor nor was alcohol. Our investigation into the cause is continuing," explained D'Amico.

Gary Blakley, 65, was driving the tractor trailer. D'Amico says they'll look into his driving record, and confirmed Blakley has had various log book infractions.

"You're required to keep a very detailed log as far as how many hours you drive, how many hours you rest, what you're hauling, weight of the truck, stuff like that," said D'Amico.

Heller suffered some lacerations, and rib injuries, but is expected to recover.

Cunniff leaves behind a wife and two sons, ages 4 and 6. D'Amico says any criminal charges would be decided by the Montgomery County District Attorney.

He added, "All of our thoughts and prayers are with Trooper Cunniff, his wife, and kids and his family." ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP