ALBANY, N.Y. – A charity has surprised the family of fallen New York State Trooper David Cunniff with a trip to Florida.
Cunniff, 35, a 9-year-veteran of the New York State Police, was killed in December 2013. He is survived by his wife and two children.
Arriving with sirens on, members of the Pine Grove Fire Department and New York State Troopers surprised Caleb, 7, and his younger brother with a trip to Florida and various amusement parks. Caleb, who is wheelchair bound due to muscular atrophy, says he can’t wait to meet Darth Vader.
The all expense paid gift comes from New York based charity bakingmemories4kids.com.The organization is volunteer based, making thousands of cookies to sell. Last year it sent 11 families on trips.
Cunniff’s patrol car was parked as he conducted a traffic stop on December 16 on the Thruway. His vehicle, and a car driven by Eric Heller were struck by a tractor trailer driven by 65-year-old Gary Blakley of Ridgeway, Ontario.
The tractor trailer was travelling in the right lane, left the roadway and hit both cars. The impact forced Trooper Cunniff’s car off the right shoulder and partially ejected him from the vehicle. The tractor trailer continued on and struck Heller’s car trapping Heller in his vehicle. Heller had to be extricated by the Amsterdam Fire Department.
Heller, 57, of Stoney Creek was transported to Albany Medical Center for his injuries. Cunniff was also taken to Albany Medical Center where he later died.
Blakley was not injured in the crash, and at this time, does not face any charges.