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January 16, 2019, 10:30 AM

Off-duty cop dies in crash with city Parks Department truck in Bronx


An off-duty NYPD cop, Brian Kessler, who had just ended his shift was killed in a head-on crash with a city Parks Department truck early Wednesday, authorities said. (Obtained by the New York Daily News)

An off-duty NYPD cop who had just ended his shift was killed in a head-on crash with a city Parks Department truck early Wednesday in the Bronx, authorities said.

Housing cop Brian Kessler, 28, was heading home when his car and the truck collided on Shore Road near Orchard Beach Road in Pelham Bay Park about 8:20 a.m. The head-on crash destroyed the front end of the cop’s silver sedan.

Sources said the Kessler had worked a 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. security shift at police headquarters in lower Manhattan before heading home to Westchester County.

Firefighters pulled Kessler out of the wreckage, and an NYPD Emergency Services Unit immediately administered CPR. Medics rushed Kessler to Jacobi Medical Center, but he could not be saved.

Two Parks Department workers in the vehicle suffered minor injuries, and were also taken to Jacobi. The workers faced no immediate charges.

Kessler had been on the job for only three months. Housing Police Chief James Secreto said Kessler graduated from the police academy last year on Oct. 18.

“He was well liked,” Secreto said. “A lot of his colleagues are distraught.”

Secreto said Kessler was recently engaged.

“His fiancée is distraught, as can be expected,” Secreto said.

The cop’s crestfallen family gathered at the hospital, where they left under a police escort. A double line of officers lined the hospital hallway as Kessler’s relatives walked out. The officers raised their hands in a solemn salute.

Sources said Kessler’s body remained at the hospital, where several of his body parts were being harvested for organ donation.

The police officers’ union head, Patrick Lynch said the department was “deeply saddened” by the news of Kessler’s death.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the Kessler family, his fiancée and all his NYPD colleagues, particularly those at PSA 8. We also are keeping the NYC Parks employees who were injured in our thoughts as we wish them a speedy and full recovery,” Lynch said in a statement.

Retired cop Ralph Dilone, a superintendent in the building where Kessler lived, said Kessler talked constantly about the job.

The helmet of an off-duty NYPD cop on his way home who was killed in a head-on crash with a city Parks Department truck early Wednesday, January 16, 2019. (Edwin Soto)

“He was always willing to learn,” Dilone said. “He was totally dedicated to his position as a police officer. He loved his job. It was what he dreamed of.”

Dilone said Kessler became a cop after working odd jobs like pizza delivery and extermination work.

“He was always hardworking,” Dilone said. “His goal was to be a police officer and he finally made it.”