On November 24, 1971 at approximately 2130 hours, Patrolman and Pipe Band Member Patrick O’Connor, shield No. 19270, of Emergency Service Truck 1, and his partner, Patrolman Maurice Fitzgerald shield No. 2887 of Emergency Service Truck 6, were assigned to Radio Emergency Patrol Unit Adam-Six. While proceeding westbound on the Gowanus Expressway Near 55th Street, they observed a motorist stopped in the right lane completing the change of a flat tire. The Patrolmen placed their vehicle about twenty feet to the rear of the disabled vehicle and activated their emergency dome light in order to protect the motorist, who was in a hazardous position. Before the motorist could complete his repair and be on his way, the Emergency Patrol Vehicle was struck in the rear by a fuel oil truck causing the Vehicle to jump forward, sideswiping another civilian vehicle, bouncing off the center divider and finally come to rest against the right guardrail of the expressway, 215 feet from the scene of the collision. Both Patrolmen were pinned in their vehicle requiring extrication, then rushed to Lutheran Medical Center. Patrolman Fitzgerald was admitted with serious injuries, but Patrolman Pat O’Connor succumbed to his. Patrolman O’Connor is survived by his wife Ann, and four children; Patrick, and James who are now a band members themselves, Anne Marie and Maureen.
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