The driver who died Sunday night in a single car collision on the Garden State Parkway near Woodbridge was a police officer with the Port Authority who performed heroically during the September 11 terrorist attacks.
Port Authority Police Lt. Kevin Murphy, a Hazlet resident, was killed when he lot control of his Honda Accord on the toll road, and the automobile swerved all over the roadway before stopping at the center median.
Murphy, 55, was on his way to work at Newark Liberty International Airport when the accident occurred, at approximately 8:30 pm, a Port Authority spokesman said.
"It appears he may have suffered from a medical incident," said Sgt. Adam Grossman, New Jersey State Police spokesman.
Murphy's auto didn't flip over, and it didn't appear that the accident had been severe enough to cost Murphy his life, he said. The Port Authority officer was pronounced dead at Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy after the accident, which is still under investigation, Grossman added.
“The Port Authority family was saddened to learn of the tragic death of Port Authority Police Lt. Kevin Murphy," the Port Authority spokesman said in a statement.
Murphy was "a decorated 28-year veteran of the PAPD [Port Authority Police Department], and was a critical member of the team that helped with the rescue and recovery operation at the World Trade Center in the days and weeks following 9/11.
"Our most sincere condolences go out to Lt. Murphy’s wife and two children.”
Murphy was highly involved with the Special Olympic in the state for almost 20 years, according to Special Olympics New Jersey. He was coordinator of the Shore Run/Island Beach leg of the state Law Enforcement Torch Run [LETR] and volunteered at Summer Games, Polar Bear Plunges, Plane Pulls, and the Snow Bowl. He also has attended several LETR international conferences as one of New Jersey’s representatives.
In 2011, Murphy was selected to run the final leg of the LETR in Athens, Greece as part of the Summer World Games. He repeated his Olympic activities in June, 2012 by helping to organize the NJ Law Enforcement Special Olympics Torch Run.
That 60 mile race had the torch being passed down Route 35 North from Island Beach State Park to Perth Amboy, stopping in 35 towns along the way. It was the last race for Holmdel Det. Sgt. Louis Torres after organizing the event for 31 years.
Torres had come to know Murphy well. He called him his "go-to guy."
“His shoes are going to be hard to fill, because of his energy and time he put into it. He gave it a lot more than 100 percent. I’m going to miss him a lot," Torres said.
Patch Senior Editor Christina Johnson contributed to this report.