State trooper struck, killed by car on Ballard Road in Wilton

trooper-timothy-pratt

WILTON, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The law enforcement community throughout the Capital Region is mourning the loss of one of their own.

Trooper Timothy Pratt, 55, was a 30-year veteran of the New York State Police. He spent his entire career with Troop G based in Latham.

Wednesday morning, his life was cut short as he began his patrol out of the Wilton Barracks.

“It appears he stepped into the lane of traffic,” Troop G Commander Maj. William Keeler said. “It was dark. Maybe he didn’t see the vehicle coming. Maybe it didn’t see him.”

Trooper Pratt stopped on Ballard Road in Wilton to help a tractor trailer that was parked in the median of the road.

“He interviewed the driver,” Maj. Keeler said. “The driver told him he had missed a turn into the Ace Hardware store, and Trooper Pratt was going to assist him and get the vehicle turned around.”

Trooper Pratt then stepped down from the truck into the eastbound lane and was hit by an oncoming SUV.

“Trooper Pratt was then transported to Saratoga Hospital,” NYSP Superintendent George Beach said. “Subsequently flown by helicopter to Albany Medical Center where he died at about 9:30 this morning.”

Dozens of state trooper vehicles arrived at Albany Med for support.

“There is no way to deal with this,” Beach said. “There really isn’t. We do the best that we can but, there really is no way to deal with this.”

Police say the driver of the SUV, identified as Joel Duguay, 59, of Corinth, N.Y., was not injured in the accident and likely will not face charges.

“We don’t anticipate any charges based on the witness statements and based on what I saw at the scene,” Maj. Keeler said.

Trooper Pratt was a member of the Traffic Incident Management Unit. His fellow troopers called his death inconceivable.

“He went out doing what he loved doing,” Maj. Keeler. “He died the way he lived — helping people.”

Flags were lowered to half-staff Wednesday.

His co-workers described him as a beloved member of the community, who was always first to volunteer for police-involved community events. Those who knew and loved him went in and out of the doors at the Wilton Barracks to give their condolences throughout the day.

Food and flowers were also brought by. It was a testament to Trooper Pratt for the years of respected community policing in Northern Saratoga County.

When he spoke, people stopped and listened, which is how those who knew him want to remember him: as a force within his community.

“He passed away protecting us, and I think that says it all right there,” friend Tom Borovsky said.

Borovsky said he was friends with Pratt for decades. He stopped by the barracks to drop off cookies and pay his condolences.

“His service to the community didn’t end here at the barracks,” he said.

Pratt was also a member of the Sons of the American Legion and some fraternal organizations in the area.

“Great family man, great son, great father,” Borovsky added.

Shortly after his death, multiple agencies posted memorials on social media. Governor Andrew Cuomo remembered Pratt for leading a 9/11 Memorial Ride from the Capitol to New York City in September.

He said:

“At this difficult time, I extend my thoughts and prayers to Trooper Pratt’s fiancée, his children and all those who loved him.”

One thing is clear. Trooper Pratt was loved by many, especially by his colleagues of more than 30 years. He leaves behind a legacy, and for those who looked up to him, some big boots to fill.

“He’s as nice a guy as you’re ever going to meet,” Borovsky said. “I can’t say enough good things about him.”

Wednesday afternoon a funeral procession lasted nearly two hours. From Albany Med to South Glens Falls, a line of law enforcement members blared their sirens.

In addition to being a trooper, he served in the United States Air Force from 1979 to 1986. Trooper Pratt leaves behind three children and his fiancée.

Part of the road near Traver Road and Northern Pines Road was closed off for accident reconstruction. Ballard Road has since reopened.

State police will be assisting the family and offering help through the employee assistance program to those within the state police family.

 

 

 

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