Off-duty PSA 8 officer killed in Shore Road collision

Police examined and photographed the wreckage.
Photo by Tommy Breen

The Bronx mourns the tragic passing of a young Police Service Area 8 police officer.

According to police, off-duty PSA 8 police officer Brian Kessler was involved in a fatal head-on collision with a NYC Parks Department garbage truck on Wednesday, January 16 around 8:20 a.m. at 870 Shore Road.

Kessler, 28, was returning home to New Rochelle after working an overnight shift at 1 Police Plaza.

He was the vehicle’s sole occupant when it collided with the green sanitation truck’s front end near the curve by Pelham Bay/Split Rock Golf Course’s entrance.

Police officers from the 45th Precinct and NYPD Emergency Service Unit and firefighters responded to the incident.

Firefighters extricated an unconscious and unresponsive Kessler from his heavily damaged silver 2013 Chevy Equinox. ESU personnel administered CPR to him as he was being transported to Jacobi Medical Center.

Kessler, who served with PSA 8 for the past three months, was pronounced deceased at 9:15 a.m.

The garbage truck driver remained at the scene.

Two Parks employees sustained minor injuries and were taken to Jacobi for treatment.

The incident remains under investigation and no arrests were made.

Kessler became engaged to his fiancée Denise Vargas on Wednesday, March 14.

He joined the force on Saturday, April 21 and graduated from the Academy on Tuesday, October 16.

“He was well-liked and a lot of his colleagues are distraught,” expressed NYPD chief of Housing James Secreto.

Patrol Borough Bronx assistant chief Nikunen thanked the NYPD, FDNY and Jacobi for their assistance.

“I would also like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the Kessler family and the extended NYPD family for their loss,” shared Nikunen.

There was a flood of tears Wednesday afternoon as PSA 8 and ESU police officers paid their respects to Kessler at 2794 Randall Avenue.

ESU police officers hung purple memorial bunting above PSA 8’s entrance and flew the precinct’s flag at half-mast.

“We are forever grateful to his service, may his family and friends find peace and comfort,” stated Councilman Mark Gjonaj.

Kessler was laid to rest at Gate of Heaven Cemetery on Wednesday, January 23.

Following the incident that same morning, Shore Road was closed to traffic north of the Bartow Pell Circle as police investigated.

Approximately 17,000 vehicles a day utilize the 1.4 mile road traveling past Bartow-Pell Museum Mansion and Pelham Bay/Split Rock Golf Course as it winds north into Westchester County.

Since August, Shore Road has undergone a $1.48 million topographical and traffic study to solve the roadway’s hazardous conditions.

NYC Department of Design and Construction contracted the 70-year-old design firm NV5 to perform a Capital Project Scope Development to address flooding and other road conditions on Shore Road from Pelham Bay Circle up to the Bronx County line.

The CPSD is anticipated to take 15 months, with an anticipated completion by late 2019.

DDC informed the study team of the accident to see if anything specifically needs to be addressed on that part of the road.

Fallen police officer Brian Kessler served at Police Service Area 8 for three months.
Photo courtesy of Facebook

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