N.Y. trooper dies three years after being struck by distracted driver

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Prosecutors said the driver was texting and using social media on his phone.

A New York state trooper has died after suffering traumatic brain injuries more than three years ago when a distracted driver’s vehicle struck him, officials said Saturday.

Trooper Joseph Gallagher died Friday, said Kevin P. Bruen, New York State Police acting superintendent, in a statement.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered flags at state buildings to be flown at half-staff.

“His tragic passing is a reminder of the selfless actions so many brave first responders take each day,” Cuomo said in a statement.

Gallagher was assisting a driver whose vehicle broke down on Dec. 18, 2017, when he was struck on an overpass connected to the Long Island Expressway, Bruen said.

Driver Jesse Cohen was both texting and using social media on his phone when his vehicle plowed into Gallagher, who had set up flares to warn traffic, prosecutors said.

Cohen’s lawyer, Louis Roman, said last year that his client had “taken full responsibility for his actions.”

The motorist was sentenced to time served, 30 days in jail, three years’ probation and 1,000 hours of community service for causing the crash.

Gallagher, a trooper since 2014, worked out of the state police office in Brentwood, New York, Bruen said.

Cuomo’s office said the officer is survived by his wife, two children, parents, sister and brothers.