Funeral services set for fallen trooper; no charges yet in deadly crash

Posted at: 12/18/2013 12:16 PM
Updated at: 12/18/2013 7:55 PM
By: Steve Flamisch

WATERVLIET – Thousands of people are expected to pay their respects to New York State Trooper David W. Cunniff, who died this week of injuries he suffered in the line of duty.

Calling hours are scheduled for 3:00-8:00 p.m. Thursday at Grace Fellowship Church, 20 Delatour Rd. in Watervliet. The funeral service is slated for 11:00 a.m. Friday at the same church.

"Dave was probably one of the best people in the State Police," Troopers PBA President Thomas Mungeer said. "He was just a good human being, a good family man, a good father."

Cunniff, 35, lived in Duanesburg with his wife, Amy, and their two young boys, Zachary, 4, and Caleb, 6. Caleb is living with an incurable disorder called Spinal Muscular Atrophy II.

"Please pray as I head home to tell our precious boys that their Daddy lives in Heaven," Amy Cunniff posted to Facebook after her husband died at Albany Medical Center.

"Amy went home to talk to the boys last night," said Jeff Stasko, a family friend who works at the church. "With children of my own that are about their age, I couldn't imagine that conversation." 


Trooper Cunniff suffered "massive head trauma" when a tractor-trailer plowed into his patrol car Monday during a traffic stop on the Thruway in Amsterdam, State Police said. He died Tuesday.

The driver of the car he had stopped, Eric Heller, of Stony Creek, was in fair condition at Albany Medical Center, a spokesman said. The truck driver, Gary Blakely of Canada, was not hurt.

"It looks like the tractor-trailer might have traveled over from the left lane onto the exit ramp before striking the troop car," State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said at a press conference Tuesday.

"The only thing I can say for sure is that it doesn't appear weather or alcohol had any involvement here," D’Amico said at the press conference.

There was "no new information" Wednesday about what caused the rig to veer off, a State Police spokeswoman said. An investigator declined to reveal what Blakely said after the crash. 

The investigators’ findings will be turned over to Montgomery County District Attorney Jeb Conboy, State Police said. Conboy did not return a NewsChannel 13 telephone call.