By LOIS CLERMONT
---- — WESTVILLE — A decorated former State Police officer was killed in a car-truck accident Monday morning on Route 37 in Westville.
Tony Bailey, 49, of Malone was driving north at about 7:30 a.m. when his 2012 Chevrolet crossed into the southbound lane and collided head-on with a 2012 Volvo tractor-trailer truck being driven by Michael A. Bono, 45, of Central Square, State Police said.
Bailey, who had retired from State Police in April after 20 years of service, was on his way to his job with Homeland Security in Massena. He was extricated from his car by Westville Emergency Services crews and taken to Alice Hyde Medical Center in Malone, where he was pronounced dead.
Bono was treated at the hospital for minor injuries and released.
The accident is under investigation by State Police and the Troop B Collision Reconstruction Unit, according to Bureau of Criminal Investigation Capt. Robert LaFountain.
He knew Bailey well.
“He was highly respected by not only the law-enforcement community but by the community where he lived and raised his family,” LaFountain said. “He will be greatly missed.”
Bailey received the Brummer Award, one of the highest honors given by New York State Police, on May 18, 2000, for his heroic action during an accident in Malone. A woman’s car had gone off the road into the Salmon River on Nov. 18, 1999, and was sinking. Bailey and Trooper Arno Lippassaar dove in and made numerous attempts to try to save her. Sadly, she perished. Lippassaar was also honored.
Bailey served in the U.S. Army during the first Gulf War.
He is survived by his wife, Jennifer, and two daughters, Elise Bailey, 25, and Kaitlin Bailey, 23, both of Buffalo.
LaFountain said Bailey was in line for a promotion to unit supervisor, but the job change was stalled by budget cuts. Then Bailey received the offer to work for Homeland Security, and he decided to retire from State Police.
“Not only was he good, competent and hardworking, but he was just the nicest guy in the world,” LaFountain said.
“This is a terrible day.”
Email Lois Clermont: firstname.lastname@example.org