WESTVILLE - The law enforcement community is mourning the loss of Tony Bailey, a retired member of the New York State Police who died in a car accident Monday morning on state Route 37 in Westville.
Malone-based state police said in a release Mr. Bailey, 49, was driving a 2012 Chevrolet in the northbound lane when he crossed over the center line and was hit head-on by a 2012 Volvo tractor trailer driven by Michael A. Bono, 45, of Central Square. Westville Fire and EMS assisted at the accident scene. Mr. Bailey was taken to Alice Hyde Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Mr. Bono was treated for minor injuries and released.
The state police Collision Reconstruction Unit is investigating the cause of the accident.
Mr. Bailey was a member of the state police for 20 years, was an asset to law enforcement and an overall good person, according to some of the people who worked closely with him throughout the years. He was known for his vibrant personality, skilled work ethic and being a family man, they said.
Troop B Bureau of Criminal Investigation (BCI) Captain Robert LaFountain, Ray Brook, said Mr. Bailey worked out of the the Malone barracks as a trooper and investigator and also worked for the Troop B gun investigation unit. Mr. Bailey was unit supervisor of the Canton BCI investigators just before his retirement.
He was the recipient of multiple commendation awards, according to Cpt. LaFountain, adding that Mr. Bailey received the Brummer Award with Trooper Arno Lippassaur, ne of the highest awards a trooper can receive.
Both troopers responded to a motor vehicle accident in 1999 in which a car had left the roadway and was submerged in the Salmon River, according to Captain LaFountain.
They dove down on several attempts to attempt to save the motorist, he said. Unfortunately the motorist was not saved.
Mr. Bailey and Tpr. Lippassaur were honored at the 24th Annual Superintendents Commendation Awards Ceremony, which was held on May 18, 2000, Captain LaFountain said.
He said Mr. Bailey ended his career with the state police on March 29, when he accepted a job as an analyst with Homeland Security Investigation Border Enforcement in Massena.
Investigator Bailey was a very skilled and competent member of the state police and also known as an outstanding person and family man, Captain LaFountain said. He will be greatly missed.
He said Bailey leaves behind a wife and two grown daughters.
Others who worked with Bailey recalled memories of him and how much they enjoyed working with him.
He was a phenomenal, just a spectacular ... wonderful man, said Derek Champagne, Franklin County District Attorney. He always treated everyone with respect and dignity. He will truly be missed.
Champagne noted Baileys charisma and warmth.
He was always so friendly and he lighted up a room, he said. He was one of a kind.
Chief Assistant District Attorney Glenn MacNeill also worked with Bailey on various cases throughout the years.
For my first trial as lead attorney, Tony was the lead investigator, he said, adding that Bailey was excellent to work with. I cant say enough about the kind of work he did. He was a top-notch investigator and just a good guy.
MacNeill said the loss has taken a toll on everyone who worked with Bailey.
Obviously the people he worked with in BCI are devastated, he said. Whatever you asked him to do, he did it and he did it right.
MacNeill commented on the kind of person Bailey was.
He was just a good person, he said. A fantastic person, fantastic investigator.