NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A 29-year-old off-duty Mount Vernon police officer who was engaged to be married was killed early Thursday morning when he drove his car the wrong way on Interstate 95 and crashed head-on into a tractor-trailer and burst into flames, police said.

The crash occurred at around 2:35 a.m. near exit 11 on the northbound lanes of the New England Thruway.

Mount Vernon Police Commissioner Carl Bell said Reginald Velez Jr. left the Pelham Bay Diner on East Gun Hill Road in the Bronx. He was driving his 2002 white Lexus sedan and somehow got on the highway the wrong way and ran head-on into an 18-wheeler – a fatal mistake on a road Velez must have known well, since he lived and worked within a few miles of the crash site.

“We don’t know a lot but he was traveling the wrong direction. NYPD is investigating the specific details. We’re just dealing with the loss of a great officer. He’s been here two years and had a promising career – good officer in a great squad,” said Bell.

WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond: Velez Was Engaged To Be Married

“I was driving north on 95,” said the driver of the tractor-trailer. “All of the sudden this car came up the ramp going south. We have an impact. That’s all I can do. There was nothing I could do to stop him.”

Bell said the driver was burned beyond recognition, so the identification of Velez is based on the car’s license plate number and a replica gold police shield.

The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured. Velez was killed instantly as his car exploded into flames and landed right near this guardrail.

“The greatest son I could ever want in my life, he’s going to be missed by everyone,” Velez’ father told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello.

1010 WINS’ Sonia Rincon with the latest

“On behalf of the men and women of the Mount Vernon Police Department, we offer our deepest sympathy and condolences to the Velez family,” Bell said. “Officer Velez was a young and promising officer and will be sorely missed by his extended family at the Mount Vernon Police Department.”

Workers at the Pelham Bay Diner say Velez was there with two women just minutes before the crash. Velez left around 2:30 a.m. Shortly after, the two women placed their order. But before the food could even go on to the grill, the women got the call that Velez had just been killed a few feet away. They left the restaurant immediately.

“We’re just dealing with the loss of a great officer. He’s been here two years and had a promising career. A good officer in a great squad,” Bell said.  “His squad this year leads the department in arrests and he was part of that group.”

Mount Vernon internal affairs investigators are looking into the crash, which is being investigated the the 45th Precinct in the Bronx.

Please leave a comment below…

Comments (80)
  1. Benedict says:

    Incredibly revealing looking ahead to coming back again.

  2. Malt Liquor Appreciation Society says:

    We do hereby induct Officer Reginald Velez Jr into the Appreciation Society. Drinking and driving gets you a lifetime membership, but since he’s dead, it don’t really matter. He’s one of us. Too bad you didn’t take anybody out on your way to the big precinct in the sky. That would have gotten you platinum membership. Stay, golden, Reggie, stay golden.

  3. Mike b says:

    Cousin Reggie, you could have had a diet Pepsi. All those gin and tonics and Colt 45s, you knew the consequences! Why, cousin, why? And now look at you, nothing but a toasted marshmellow, a side order of grilled ribs, and char-broiled patty, a D&D on his way purgatory.

    1. KICK says:


  4. KICK says:

    Good that he is dead !!!!! When I heard that he was SOOOOO mangled they couldn’t recognize him; I started to clap. Then when they said the car bursted into FLAMES, I laughed soooooooo hard !!! Good that he’s dead.

  5. laura says:

    RIP with tiers in my eyes may you rest in peace and GOD have in his glory!

  6. Jasmin Rodriguez says:

    i hope you and your entire family die a horrofic way full of pain you inconsiderate assholes!!!you may have your own opinion but it doesnt give you the right to write things when people are suffering a great lost!He was a great man,officer and friend you have no right to write anything negative when you never met him

  7. JAY says:


    1. Jaybo Grimes says:

      Just a love of the wacky tobacky! Hey, Jay, don’t bogart that joint, my friend. Pass that mother around. Rico! Suave!

  8. GIJoe says:

    OH YES they do serve alcohol. Thats one of the places people go after the club or just for their drinks!

  9. Mike b says:

    real talk I’m not the one to be played with chico..

    1. GIJoe says:

      WOW let me guess thats a threat? smh

  10. Chico Linero says:

    All the little children are asking: “Why Officer Velez, why did you drink and drug and get behind the wheel? Why, Mr. Policeman, why?” No response from the man’s punk-ass defenders – just the usual “Rest in Peace” phoniness.

  11. Jorge Smorge says:

    Are the commenters on this story posting from some second-grade special education class for extreme intellectual impairment? I have never read so much moronically bad writing. Please go ahead and bless Officer Velez, but at least do it with an once of basic writing skill. Damn, you folks are embarrassing!

    1. eimstein einsten says:

      eff u wanna critizize sumone’s writting, u shuld spell checque yurs…you need to do it with an OUNCE of basic writing skills, otherwise, it comes out moronically

      1. Paco Cholo says:

        You tell ’em, einstein. Glad you’re doing something useful in your momma’s basement other than playing with yourself. Keep on spell checking those single-letter mistakes. I believe your mom said it best: Jive ass dude don’t got no brains anyhow! Shiiiiit.

        1. eimstein einsten says:

          I agree. well saed!

          1. einsten's mom says:

            Einsten, time for dinner. It’s mommy. You got another Hungry Man’s TV Dinner and Frankenberry snack pack while you watch your favorite Logo and Boomerang programs. And stop with the spelling games. You’ll only hurt your brain!

            1. eimstein einsten says:

              salisbury stake! Luv it! Did somebody say Johnny Quest? That sexi beest!

  12. mj says:

    it’l be very interesting to see how this situation is treated by the authorities depending upon the outcome of the investigation. will they fry him like they have the others or go easy on him because he was a cop ?

    1. Boggles Mind says:

      It will be the latter, nothing to see here folks move along……

  13. jocelyn says:

    All i have to say is that you are just one more sad looser in this world, smh. hope you any of your love once dont ever have to go through this.

  14. jocelyn says:

    If is so sad how people come out with there own conclusions, bottom line here is that the poor young officer died and left his love ones devestated , Instead of writing your negative comment, why dont you put yourself in there shoes , and think about how you would feel if it was one of your love ones.

    jocelyn gonzalez

  15. jocelyn says:

    Its amazing how people make there own conclusion !! let the poor young men rest in peace , Give respect to those he left behind that are moarning his lost. RIP . jocelyn gonzalez

    1. SickDouble Standard says:

      Please…Do you really think that if this wasn’t a police officer that was stinking drunk and high as a kite, that could have easily killed dozens of innocent people as well, the article would not have mentioned alcohol?

  16. Mike b says:

    Hopefully someone slaps you in the face. Trust me, no one will care when your day comes.

  17. S says:

    I live in the area and have actually done the same thing and got on the wrong way during a foggy night. One of the scariest moments of my life. Drunk or not, no one deserves to die so young.

  18. Martin says:


  19. IamRight says:

    Sorry friends and family, but nobody cares when pigs die doing something shady. We know the fix is in, even if his BAC winds up being 85%. At least one more perp is off the street forever.

  20. Melanie Santiago-Jackson,Bronx says:

    chino rivera great post. i agree, your making many goo points,as a few others here.

    just goin to add then RIP and whatever he did “wrong”in life,well.he at heaven if it is cheating late at nite,then “make a wrong turn” and crash so violently,or maybe he is drunk PRIOR to being with two ladies,broads or hoodrats,or maybe friends who know but god and him,but agreeing that eventually yea the trut always come to light after the “dark”
    i hope his family can find peace,
    wit the FIANCEE to find the final answer she is looking for,cause i feel bad and i do not even know him,but agree with yall above chino few others,about what you saying.


    1. Z says:

      How do you know one of those women wasnt his fiance? You do not know i really wish every single person on here would stop passing judgement on Reggie a great person who NONE of you bashing even knew him!!! No where does it say he was drinking obviously no one has been on that highway because many people have confused that with an on ramp… he was at a diner not a club. Reggie had a heart of gold and no one who ever knew him has anything bad to say about him but all of you pass judgment please know the facts first. Rest in peace Reggie.

    2. Jasmin Rodriguez says:

      your an idiot Melanie he was with his bestfrind(male) his girlfriens and sister in law you moron…………………you shouldnt asume!he wasnt cheating you dumb bitch his fiance knew exactly where he was and with who he was with

  21. It doesn't matter says:

    People need to stop assuming everything they hear is true! Not even the news reporters know what really happened they weren’t there no one was! No one but Reggie will know! Let the man rest in peace. It was a tragedy and he was a great person who loved his job! Wasn’t a drug dealer! And yes he did own his car before he became a cop! He was always a hard working man! Rest in peace Reggie. Gone but never forgotten……..

    1. I understan THOSE here who KNEW This young very good lookin man,is in mourning
      but i think it do matter,due to 1. he is engage? or was RIP.
      and 2. almost 3a.m. what is a engage,committed,hubby 2 b,doin at a restaurant in the bad section of bx. like this wit two women. i read three women in another paper on line,either the DAILY NEWS,or another one,but here it say 2.

      either way i want to know personally what went wrong. a heart attack ?buthe so young then again it do happen,strange. or what really happen,maybe he did not NOE THE AREA,visiting TWOLADIES, or whatever happen i have no clue

      but wow.what a way 2 go burn up like this i hear BEYON RECOGNITION SO SAD I KRY TONIGHT HEARIN HIS DAD,SO VERYSAD. life really is short.

      so sad, i m now wishin young man reggie was at home,not in the street,if he was,would b alive…RIP i will follow this beyond tragic story to see the outcome of what really happen…

      maybe just went the wrong way..
      not sure.


    2. carmen sanyiago says:

      i know this family i have kids myself god give this family some comfort ,faith,healing im my prayers -reggie-god took and angel home my deepest condolences;(‘

    3. Let's MakeBelieve says:

      Course he loved his job…he got it with a moronic test score because he got affirmative action hire, he could get away with drunk driving…. benefit of the job, pay is way more than the job deserves with crazy benefits!!!
      What the hell is not to love???

  22. alfred nunez says:

    i knew Reggie and he was a great kid that turned out to be a great man. he did not do drugs and as far as i know he was not a drinker. those of you who are passing judgement with out the facts should just not comment. to his family i send my deepest condolences. he will be deeply missed.


  23. Alex oliver says:

    you drive drunk you get no tears shed over your death. what will the people defending him would have said if he had killed the truck driver or a mother crossing the street with her kids or even an ordinary person who had nothing to do with him being drunk. you play with fire you get burn and buddy death does not care if u are a cop or not

    1. Whiff Ma Tookus says:

      You tell em’ Alex, make em’ smell your ass. Wanna smell mine? It has healing properties.

    2. alfred nunez says:

      YOU’RE AN IDIOT! get the facts first.

    3. Chino Rivera on facebook says:

      ALEX yea i agree pretty much sraight up.
      and to member (HOT PINK BIKINI)thx for this link (morgan)i just get this yea thx.
      i hear bout this tragedy on facebook but i mean what he doin out so late for.
      if he married,or engage?NO GOOD MAN off duty or not a cop NO GOOD Man be out wit chick chillin in a dam diner this late,somethin foul mayb was poppin off.
      who knows. but yea HOT PINK BIKINI and ALEX i agree.

      i do agree wit u i am hearin wild stories bout him already on facebook ENGAGE, but out at three a.m. with drink and drivin and hoochies I hear not sure,just sayin as other what i am hearin,dam
      glad i am FAITHFUL,and do NOT drink and drive,b in ma house at a DECENT hour.


      i am thinkin “either he was um, well engage supposedly a Dutiful “faithful man” and career life”set”realy great life,but yet he is seen at a diner at so late in the morning NOT HOME with wifey 2 b that is odd,and or drunk i mean omg just not good RIP. will follow this for the FINAL analysis,of what happen,cause THIS rarely happen if ever,that i m remembering in RECENT time,unless he is a drunk allegedly as some sayin,happen with two women he was wit the hour prior i
      do not know just saying what i am hearing. either way?RIP. make WISE decisions,old and younger people or LIFE as u know it,can end up,like this
      A very SHORT outtie…..RIP but always a WAY TO AVOID A EARLY DEATH YALL SADLY something went fatally wrong.i know the TRUTH WILL ARISE one day,during investigation.


  24. misssmaggie says:

    It is sad to hear a life has been lost. May he rest in peace. The truck driver…I hope he is able to find peace…he had no control in the situation…it will be hard for him to get behind the wheel again.

  25. anieli says:

    people need to stop assuming and stop talking crap. if you knew him you would know that he was a great man. He owned his Lexus before becoming a cop, he was never a part of any kind of drug activity. Only God knows what made him go onto on going traffic. You are NO ONE to JUDGE.

    1. Jennifer Williams says:

      Thank you Anieli for saying what I have been thinking all day reading these stupid ass comments. Reggie was a great friend and person and he didnt deserve to die. Reggie you will be missed tremondously.

    2. Darth Vader says:

      Just glad this piece of garbage went to hell by himself and didn’t kill one of us!!!!

    3. Truth Hurts says:

      Yeah…people need to beeze” Funny when all these apologetic”s want to pretend this maniac wasn’t lucky he didn’t kill a lot more people. It is what it is, and he was dead wrong.

  26. Cojito says:

    Can alll making negative comments and judgements just stop and take a minute realize that a life was lost tragically. This is not about you putting blame or criticizing Others of their comments (or grammar) but at least show respect to the family and friends of this young man who lost his life, as you would want everyone to respect your loss if it were you. YES, I knew Reggie and his family and he was and always will be a fine young man. REST IN PEACE…. You will be missed….

  27. Jim Southern says:

    Stop the drinking and the drugging and the driving! The only people driving the wrong way on a major highway are the inebriated or the retarded. Maybe both.

    1. alfred nunez says:

      jim you’re an ass!!!!

  28. What's In A Name says:

    Was he wearing a hoody???

  29. King Zohan says:

    I understand the entrance ramp might be confusing there, but they wrote he was in the center lane going the wrong way, i mean it doesnt take a genius to figure that out, much less and experienced police officer who drives all day. Obviously he was not sober otherwise he wouldve realized the headlights coming at him before he crashed…

    Anyway rest in peace, nothing will bring him back but hopefully others will learn from this and prevent themselves from becoming next.

    Thank god he managed not to kill anyone else, if it was another compact car he hit, then id be far more furious.

  30. Lissie says:

    Instead of judging my nephew, ya should be thinking the devastationg that the family is going thru right now. Instead of judging him ya should be asking this question to ya’self” How long we’re going to last on this world”, just remember “we’re here now but for how long”.& the only person that can explain what really when down is dead.
    RIP my beloved nephew Reg, you departure to a better place. You was a good son, nephew, uncle, grandson and most of all you was love by many

    God bless ya and I hope that you do not have to go thru this tragedy

    1. What's In A Name says:

      Got high school diploma?

    2. NS says:


      I went to school with Reggie and although I did not know him well, I pray for your family. May God be with you all through this though time.
      For those of you bad mouthing why he was going in the wrong direction….apparently you simply have no heart.

    3. Desiree says:

      Im devastated to recieve this news , Reg was a good guy, had his life together and has always been a great friend for many years and I will miss him dearly , I cant believe this, God has gained another angel. My prayers go out to his family .
      Love ya Reg

  31. USCG BX Born says:

    @Yankee Fan.. it couldve been a lease, just throwing that out there.

    @CT NAtive, Im sorry but i have lived in the BX for 17 years before i joined the service. i know that area well since my JHS is up the street from that diner and i have eaten at the diner quite a bit. when you leave the parking lot you are looking at 2 “DO NOT ENTER” signs with “ONE WAY” signs showing the flow of traffic on top them. there is always traffic flowing in the area so you can see which way to go. not to mention if he came on the highway from that off ramp you aer in the far right lane, he collided with a truck in the center lane speeding. im not gonna say he was drunk or was drinking, that could be the case but i will say that it was reckless driving and just a little common sense and this couldve avoid it.

  32. Peter says:


  33. David Smith says:

    cops drive dangerously for no reason all the time. they should set an example but just abuse their power instead. i wouldn’t be surprised if this guy was taking a short cut. other possibles are drugs, booze or plain stupid.

    1. Junior says:

      Shut up fool! Short cut? WHat the heck does that mean? Maybe NONE OF THE ABOVE!

      1. NS says:


        As mentioned by Peter it could of been a medical reason. People are so quick to judgem yet they dont look at their own actions. Shame what this world has come to

        1. Boggles Mind says:

          Get your head out of your posterior, the chance of a medical (not caused by drugs or alcohol) issue here is slim to none.

  34. Mike b says:

    that was my cousin and he worked very hard and he took his job way to serious to be driving drunk so I would like it if you stupid people that don’t know anything about him stop talking crap..

    1. Mike b-yatch says:

      Cousins don’t let cousins drink and drive.

  35. bob says:

    This was news right after it happened because this happened on a major north south corridor of 95 aka new england thruway1 Even if this wasnt a cop it still would be news !!

  36. In$urance says:

    and this is news because he’s a cop…just another idiot that makes our insurance premium go up

  37. Cara says:

    This article doesn’t even mention which vehicle was driving the wrong way.

    1. Arthur Kinney says:

      Authorities say Reginald Velez was driving a Lexus southbound in the center northbound lane when he crashed into a tractor trailer.

    2. nyc says:

      read the article again the Lexus was traveling Southbound in a Northbound lane
      in a Northbound lane

    3. Reginald Velez was driving a Lexus southbound in the center northbound lane when he

    4. glenn says:

      read the article a little better

  38. feedme says:

    If he was not a police officer, do you think this article might mention drugs/alcohol??? way to stay impartial cBS

    1. Yankee Fan says:


      Unfortunately you make a valid point. One has to ask how a 28 year old Police Officer would not know he was driving the WRONG way at 230 in the morning. And he was driving a Lexus. When I was 28 I could afford a 15 year old Buick! Good Cops are GREAT people and I respect them so much. Those cops who act outside of the law, I do not respect and actually fear. Time will tell what caused this accident but common sense says something was very wrong with the 28 year old off duty cop.

      1. NS says:

        If you ask me…if you can’t afford a decent car at 28 you have a problem. I’ve had a lexus since I was 24 and Im a librarian, I dont sell drugs and work hard. Assuming how he could afford that while his family is mourning should be shameful.

      2. Smart Yankee Fan says:

        Sure, he was driving a Lexus. A TEN YEAR OLD LEXUS!!! Don’t you think that if he was lining his pockets with ill-gotten cash that he’d be driving a NEW LEXUS? You’re not fit to wear the pinstripes, knucklehead.

      3. Boggles Mind says:

        You Think?

  39. MIKE says:

    HIS A** WAS DRUNK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    1. CT Native says:

      Yes….drinking SODA at a nearby dinner! He was tired from work and the entrance to I-95 there is very confusing. It’s amazing how quickly people assume the worst about somebody. Condolences to his family.

      1. NS says:

        I would understand people believing and reasurring one another that he was drunk if he would of came out of a club..but to my knowedge liquor is not sold in dinners. RIP VElez

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