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Defendant: Jesse Cohen  (DOB 01/30/96)

Oct. 9, 2020 --  (Central Islip, NY) Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. announced that motorist Jesse Cohen of West Islip, New York was sentenced in the traffic crash which seriously injured NYS Trooper Joseph Gallagher in Suffolk County in December 2017. Trooper Gallagher remains in a facility for traumatic brain injury and is severely disabled.

Cohen appeared for sentencing in Suffolk County Court in Central Islip today.

In July, Cohen pleaded guilty as charged to Assault in the Third Degree with Criminal Negligence, a class A misdemeanor Under the plea agreement, Cohen will serve 30 days in jail, in addition to three years’ probation and 1,000 hours of community service.

The Westchester DA’s Office was appointed Special Prosecutor. The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office recused themselves due to a conflict.

Background
On Dec. 18, 2017, just before 2:30 p.m., Trooper Joseph Gallagher was assisting a motorist with a disabled vehicle on a two-lane overpass connecting the Long Island Expressway (LIE) with the Sagtikos Parkway in Commack in the Town of Smithtown. Trooper Gallagher closed one lane and exited his patrol car. While he placed flares to divert traffic around the disabled car, more than one car successfully drove around him in the right lane. However, motorist Jesse Cohen, who was distracted by texting conversations, failed to perceive the uniformed trooper and drove his car directly into him. 
 
Data from Cohen’s phone showed he sent and received dozens of text messages in a number of separate conversations in the 20 minutes while he was driving, immediately prior to striking Trooper Gallagher.

Westchester County Assistant District Attorneys Julia Cornachio, Chief of the District Attorney’s Office Vehicular Crimes Bureau, and Jonathan Strongin, Deputy Chief of the Career Criminal Bureau, prosecuted the case.

 In compliance with the Rules of Professional Conduct, Rule 3.6, you are advised that a charge is merely an accusation and that a defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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Media contact:
media@westchesterda.net

(914) 995-3586