Early findings indicate crash that killed Whitesboro officer was tragic accident

Officer Kevin Crossley (Photo provided by NYSP)

Less than 24 hours after a crash that claimed the life of a Whitesboro police officer, state police investigators said preliminary indications are the collision was a tragic accident.

However much of the investigation into the crash that claimed the life of 34-year-old Whitesboro Police Patrolman Kevin Crossley is just getting started and many questions remain.

What investigators know about the crash

New York State Police Major Philip T. Rougeux said Crossley was driving a "slick" patrol car with no lightbar eastbound on Oriskany Boulevard in the village of Whitesboro just before 8 p.m. at the time. Rougeux said it appears Crossley was on a routine patrol as he passed through the intersection; that's when a Chevrolet Avalanche traveling in the opposite direction tried to turn left onto Westmoreland Street in front of Crossley's vehicle, Rougeux said.

The collision was almost head-on, according to Rougeux. The state police major said it appears both Crossley and the driver of the Avalanche had a green light at the intersection, but Rougeux said the driver of the Avalanche should have yielded the right of way.

Crossley was taken to St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Utica, where he was pronounced dead. The driver of the Avalanche, identified as 26-year-old Nicole Moshier-Harris of Whitesboro, was taken to St. Luke's Hospital in Utica, treated for a leg injury, and released. She was the lone occupant of her vehicle.

Rougeux said weather doesn't appear to be a factor in the crash; though it rained Wednesday night, it was after the collision and the road was dry when the accident occurred, Rougeux said.

The unknowns that remain

According to Rougeux, Moshier-Harris has been cooperating fully with the investigation. He said at this point there's no indication drugs or alcohol were a factor. Investigators are still exploring whether distracted driving had any role in the crash.

Crossley's vehicle didn't have a camera, however state police have obtained video from a nearby business, Rougeux said. Investigators are hoping to find additional video and hear from any witnesses of the crash.

The speed limit in that area is 40 miles per hour, according to Rougeux. He said investigators do not yet know how fast each vehicle was going at the time of the collision.

When asked if both drivers were wearing seatbelts at the time of the crash, Rougeux said he did not know.

When asked if the crash appears to be just a tragic accident at this stage, Rougeux replied, "At this point, yes, but again it's preliminary. We're not even 24 hours into the investigation. There's a lot of work to be done."

Rougeux said it's too early to speculate on whether or not there will be any charges for the crash.

"A Whitesboro boy from day one"

While many details surrounding the crash remained unclear Thursday, the convictions of Crossley, who was born and raised in the Oneida County village, never were, according to Whitesboro Police Chief Dominick Hiffa.

"Kevin's been a Whitesboro boy from day one," Hiffa said, noting that even before becoming a seven-year veteran of the department Crossley's life dream was to be a Whitesboro Police Officer. In addition to a full-time role serving for Whitesboro, Crossley had recently started part-time police work for the town of Whitestown.

"His job was his dream and he loved coming to work every day. He was an upbeat kid; he loved street work," Hiffa recalled. "He loved outdoor sports: snowmobiling, he loved riding his Harley Davidson, and anything else with a motor really.

"That was Kevin. If it had a motor, it made him smile. Especially a police car."

Hiffa said Crossley's death is the first line-of-duty death for the department, which currently has 10 officers. Hiffa said in addition to being a good cop, Crossley was a son, a brother, and a boyfriend.

"He'll be terribly missed by all of us and our community," Hiffa said. "He served very well."

Flowers were left outside the Whitesboro Police Department by people showing their respect for the officer, a gesture Hiffa said "fills an empty hole in your heart."

On the morning after the fatal crash, Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol tweeted a photo honoring Crossley.

In a Facebook post Thursday morning, the Town of Whitestown Police Department's Facebook page said, "Our thoughts and prayers go out to (Crossley's) family, friends and co-workers, we will miss you brother."

Overnight Crossley's body was escorted to Upstate University Hospital in Syracuse, where an autopsy was conducted.

Following the autopsy, Crossley's body received an escort back to Whitesboro Thursday afternoon.

A GoFundMe seeking to help Crossley's family has raised more than $9,000 as of Friday afternoon.

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