A Christmas tragedy: Cops who drove off bridge and drowned won’t be forgotten
It's been a decade since the foggy, rainy night when Jersey City Police Officers Robert Nguyen, 30, and his partner, Shawn Carson, 40 lost their lives after the Emergency Service truck they were driving plunged from Lincoln Highway Bridge into the frigid water while they were on duty.
As they have every year since 2005, police officers will gather for a memorial service to honor the fallen officers.
Police will begin gathering at 7:30 p.m. near the Exxon Station on Route 440 and Communipaw Avenue in Jersey City before a procession to the bridge, which, in 2007, was renamed "Shawn Carson and Robert Nguyen Memorial Bridge." Police and officials will lay wreaths on the bridge as they remember the two young officers, according to NJ Advance Media.
"Driving over the bridge yesterday morning in the fog, it was an eerie reminder of that tragic night," Jersey City Police Chief Philip Zacche said in a prepared statement. "It's hard to believe it has been 10 years since we lost these two officers and we know that all of the Jersey City Police Department will be thinking of them and their families this Christmas and every Christmas."
The crash occurred minutes after Carson and Nguyen finished a detail in which they delivered flares to the Kearny side of the bridge to help other officers stop traffic because the crash gates on the bridge weren't functioning. The bridge connects Kearny to Jersey City. What they didn't know as they drove in the rain and fog was that the center span of the bridge had been raised so that a tugboat could pass.
The vehicle plunged nearly 45 feet into the Hackensack River. Authorities say Nguyen drowned in the icy water. His body was recovered in construction debris following a four-day search of the river. Carson's body was recovered in the vehicle shortly after the crash and medical examiners determined he died of a broken neck.
Toniann Antonelli is the digital managing editor at NJ 101.5. Reach her at email@example.com, or on Twitter @ToniRadio1015.