Kalyanarat Ranasinghe Was Killed In Accident In Midtown Last Weekend

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police Commissioner Ray Kelly delivered the eulogy Saturday for a traffic enforcement agent who was struck and killed by a vehicle in Midtown a week ago.

Kalyanarat Ranasinghe, 71, was struck and killed by a large truck on East 44th Street between Fifth and Madison avenues on Saturday, Nov. 30.

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He was taken to a nearby hospital, but died of his injuries once he arrived.

At Ranasinghe’s memorial service at the Ortiz Funeral Home, at 2121 Westchester Ave. in the Bronx, Kelly noted the spirit of kindness that the traffic enforcement aide had embodied throughout his life.

“The Buddhist master Atisha observed that ‘The greatest achievement is selflessness; the greatest patience is humility; and the greatest quality is seeking to serve others.’ These are the tenets by which Kalyana lived his life,” Kelly said. “Talk to anyone who worked with him, and they will tell you, he was helpful, kind, and compassionate. Above all, he was completely devoted to his family.”

Ranasinghe came to the U.S. in 2001 with his wife to be with their daughter and support her education, Kelly said. He joined the NYPD as a traffic enforcement agent in 2006 to help better provide for his family.

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“Right away, he impressed his supervisors with his energy, drive and work ethic. Every morning, he commuted by subway to his base in Manhattan. He never arrived late and rarely called in sick,” Kelly said. “Within 18 months of his appointment, he was promoted to Traffic Enforcement Agent Level II. And, a few weeks ago, he took the test to become a supervisor and did extremely well.”

At the age of 71, Kelly said, Ranasinghe had the energy of traffic enforcement agents half his age –even volunteering for overtime on his days off.

“On the hottest days of summer and the coldest days of winter, he patrolled midtown Manhattan, issuing summonses for the kind of dangerous infractions that impede the flow of traffic: double-parked cars, blocked traffic lanes, and bus stops,” Kelly said. “When called upon, he also helped to direct vehicles through busy intersections.”

Kelly also urged the public to acknowledge the sometimes-underappreciated work of traffic enforcement aides.

“The public doesn’t always hear about the fine work of our traffic enforcement agents, but they feel the effect of that work every day. It’s what enables 8.4 million people to travel through the city safely and peacefully,” Kelly said.

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