Fatal Accident Investigation
On Wednesday, December 6th, 2017 at approximately 0700hrs P.O. Travis Philhower #397 and Chf. Michael Coppola #348 both contacted police headquarters during their travel to and from work reporting a car off the road in the woods. The vehicle was located northbound on the Palisades Interstate Parkway, north of the Alpine Lookout in the Alpine NJ Section. Chf. Coppola reported a silver Toyota SUV deep in the woods, heavily damaged, with an unconscious operator trapped. EMS and Rescue were immediately requested. Upon arrival of officers Dana Eustace #389 and Anthony Engel #402 moments later, entry was gained and it was determined that the operator (to be identified after family notifications) was deceased. Detectives were requested as well as the Bergen County Sheriff’s Department BCI Unit for photos.
Thus far the investigation shows that the vehicle had traveled off the roadway and into the woods. During that time the ground became uneven and contributed to the vehicle to becoming airborne. The vehicle then struck several trees before coming to rest on the other side of a small hill. The vehicle remained undetected over night until the morning hours where the daylight was able to make the scene visible. Notifications to next of kin and accident reconstruction are still ongoing. This release will be updated when appropriate.
The victim involved in the fatal accident collision earlier today is identified as Mr. Peter Kim, a 55 year old male from West Nyack. At this time, no other vehicles appear to have been involved in this collision. Investigator findings are consistent with a collision in which an operator had fallen asleep at the wheel. Cause and manner of death are pending with the Medical Examiner.
12-07-17 Update (Final)
After Medical Examiner review it has been determined that Mr. Kim suffered a life threatening medical condition prior to the collision. It is likely that Mr. Kim was unconscious at the time of the collision and had died of his medical event prior to the crash chain of events.