NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly has reported that Traffic Officer Kalyanarat Ranasinghe, 71, was struck and killed while he was writing parking tickets on East 44th Street between Fifth and Madison Avenues.

The 43 year old driver of the industrial street cleaning vacuum truck struck him about 2:30 p.m. as he was pulling out of a parking space. Witnesses called it, “a freak accident”.  The truck driver just didn’t see him standing in the roadway.  One witness stated that Officer Ranasinghe was talking on his cell phone at the time of the crash.  Officer Ranashinghe’s leg got caught up in the right front wheel of the truck and he was crushed. NYPD’s Collision Investigation Squad in conducting the crash investigation.

Commissioner Kelly described the death as, “gut-wrenching.”  These people don’t make a lot of money, but they’re out there in the middle of some heavy traffic, worst possible weather, day, and night.  Its a dangerous job!”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s office issued a statement offering his thoughts and prayers with the Ranasinghe family.

The last NYPD Traffic Officer killed in the line of duty was a female officer back in 2008.  She was 7 months pregnant when she was struck and killed by two vehicles in the Bronx.  Doctors were able to deliver her son, but he died eight days later.

Dananjaya Waragoda, Officer Ranashinghe’s son in-law, stated that Ranasinghe worked as a telecommunications engineer in Dubai and New York prior to becoming a traffic officer 7 years ago.  He immigrated from Sir Lanka 20 years ago and is survived by his wife of 50 years and a daughter.

NYPD Traffic Officer Kalyanarat Ranasinghe – gone but never forgotten.  EOW: Saturday, November 30, 2013

To learn more:

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/nypd-traffic-agent-struck-killed-midtown-article-1.1533596

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2516264/It-freak-accident-NYPD-traffic-officer

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2013/12/traffic-cop-killed-new-york.html