The 16-year-old driver of a BMW involved in a fatal crash on Tuckahoe Road that claimed the life of a Yonkers police veteran was speeding and unlicensed, officials said on Friday.
Sgt. Frank Gualdino was killed after his unmarked police vehicle and a bus were struck on Thursday afternoon. Video shared at a Friday press conference showed the teen, who officials have not named, speeding down the busy thoroughfare before crossing the yellow line and colliding with the oncoming vehicles.
Officials said the 16-year-old was driving the BMW M5 without a license and had gotten his learner’s permit about two weeks earlier. They said the car was not stolen and that it belonged to someone the driver knew.
Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano called the crash a tragedy for both the sergeant’s and the teen's families.
We mourn the loss of a tremendous officer. There’s also a family that has a 16-year-old that’s fighting for his life.
“We mourn the loss of a tremendous officer. There’s also a family that has a 16-year-old that’s fighting for his life,” Spano said.
"We know when you're 16, you kind of teeter on that edge,” he added. “We're always telling our kids over and over again: 'Watch what you're doing. Slow it down. Drive slow.' And they sometimes continue to do what they want."
Gualdino had been with the department for 24 years and was planning to retire in August.
Yonkers Police Commissioner Christopher Sapienza said Gualdino was a supervisor in the department’s traffic and motorcycle unit, an elite team he called the “face of our department.” Gualdino was on duty at the time of his death, likely checking in on his officers stationed at different posts around the city, Sapienza said.
The commissioner called Gualdino’s death “the most horrible loss” the department of just about 620 officers had experienced.
“We’re family. We all know each other, and we all know Frank,” Sapienza said. “Frank is a close friend, and he’s a cop’s cop.”
Last month, the department published a letter on its Facebook page praising Gualdino for saving a 3-year-old boy who had become unconscious following a funeral. According to the letter, the sergeant rushed the child to the hospital in his police car, and then went back later to check on him.
“Your officers provided aid when it was needed and showed compassion to my family on a very difficult day,” the boy’s aunt wrote.
Gualdino leaves behind a wife and two children.