NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Monday was a day of mourning for the NYPD due to the sudden death of a high-ranking member of the force.

An inspector died after an early morning motorcycle accident in the Bronx, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported.

Police said Michael McGrath was off duty just before 8 a.m. when his motorcycle was traveling on East Tremont Avenue and collided with a dump truck making a left onto Waterbury Avenue in the Schuylerville section of the borough. A group of parents and kids waiting for the bus saw it and believe McGrath may have been trying to make a yellow light.

“It was yellow. It was trying to pass the light and it lost control. And when he lost control he fell and he started sliding,” a witness said. “That’s when truck came and started turning. Truck didn’t see him. I was the one got to the front of the truck to stop moving so he wouldn’t keep taking him.”

Police said soon after 56-year-old McGrath succumbed to his injuries at nearby Jacobi Hospital.

Flags were set at half staff at the police academy in College Point, Queens, where McGrath was second in command. For nearly 30 years he worked his way up the ranks. He was also commanding officer of the NYPD’s Strategic Services Division, including the Cadet Corps, which involves teaching college students about the job.

“When I heard he was an off-duty police officer training cadets or whatever, it’s all bad. It’s sad. It’s sad,” the witness said.

Neighbors at his apartment a little more than a mile away said McGrath loved riding his yellow motorcycle, always had a smile on his face, and helped neighbors carry their bags.

A former colleague of more than 20 years tweeted one memory, saying, “Mike worked tirelessly to ensure 99 #NYPD officers who died in the line of duty dating back as far as the mid-1800s were added to the Hall of Heroes in 2006.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio wrote to McGrath’s family and colleagues, saying on Twitter “all of New York City mourns the tragic death.”

“We are keeping you in our hearts and in our prayers,” de Blasio added.

As for the incident, police said the truck driver stayed at the scene. No charges have been filed and the investigation is ongoing.

CBS2 was told McGrath leaves behind one daughter.

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