A rookie NYPD cop was killed and eight other officers injured when a department van crashed in The Bronx early Sunday.
The officers, all with Operation Impact and from the 47th Precinct, were heading to work in security details at the United Nations and the climate march when the driver lost control while rounding a turn on the Bruckner Expressway in Hunts Point around 5:10 a.m., sources said.
The 2009 Ford Econoline struck a cement barrier near Longfellow Avenue before grinding against it for nearly a block and coming to rest near Bryant Avenue, sources said.
Police Officer Michael Williams, 25 — the son of a retired upstate cop — was seated in the rear of the van and ejected.
The tragic officer, who only joined the force in January, was taken to Lincoln Hospital where he was pronounced dead.
A line of more than 70 somber cops saluted the young officer’s American flag-draped coffin as it was removed from the hospital and loaded into an NYPD truck as his distraught mother and father followed behind.
“His parents said it was his dream come true to be a police officer,” said NYPD Chief of Department Phillip Banks III of Williams, at a press conference outside the hospital. “It was all he ever wanted to do.”
Banks said William’s father worked as a cop in Carmel, NY, for more than 30 years before retiring.
Four other injured officers were taken to Lincoln Hospital, while four more went to St. Barnabas and Jacobi hospitals, officials said.
None had non-life-threatening injuries, authorities said.
Local resident William Soto said he was listening to a police scanner and immediately rushed to the scene after the call came over the radio.
There, he found paramedics feverishly working on the injured cops in the pouring rain.
“The EMS was already here working on the driver, who was bleeding from the head,” said Soto, 49.
“They put a neck brace on him and kept working on him as they put him in the ambulance.”
“His chest was going up and down, but he was shaking,” he added. “Another officer was sitting on the ground all mangled. I heard he was the one that was ejected.”
“It was raining pretty hard when I got out here,” Soto continued. “I think they skidded in the turn. That happens all the time here.”
Meanwhile, police at the 47th Precinct lowered the American flag outside the station house to half-staff in honor of Williams.
More than a dozen firefighters from Engine Company 38 and Ladder Company 51 turned up to offer support to the grieving cops and help hang up a memorial bunting from the side of the building.