Off-duty Suffolk County officer who survived cancer dies in one-car crash

Long Island

SELDEN, N.Y. — An off-duty Suffolk County police officer who survived cancer and months of grueling radiation and chemotherapy was killed in a one-car crash on Long Island.

Police say Officer Vincent Pelliccio, 30, was driving northbound on Nicolls Road in Selden shortly after 12:30 a.m. Monday when he crashed his Jeep into a median. He was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Pelliccio was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2017 at age 26 and underwent intensive radiation and chemotherapy. He later had surgery to remove the remaining cancerous growth from his stomach.

Pelliccio returned to full duty in March 2018.

Pelliccio started his professional career as a teacher, but later followed his father’s footsteps and joined the Suffolk County Police Department in 2014.

“Officer Pelliccio was a dedicated member of the Third Precinct who overcame personal adversity to continue serving the people of Suffolk County,” Third Precinct Inspector John Rowan said. “His perseverance and unwavering commitment to his calling as a police officer is inspirational. Vinny will be missed but not forgotten by this command.”

“I am devastated to hear about the passing of Third Precinct Gang Task Force Officer Vincent Pelliccio,” Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said. “I had the pleasure of meeting Officer Pelliccio when he was honored for his outstanding work in keeping our communities safe.  An exemplary law enforcement professional and relentless fighter who returned to work full duty after winning a battle with cancer, Officer Pelliccio’s tragic passing has shaken our entire police family.  My thoughts and prayers are with his fiancée and his family during this incredibly difficult time.”

Pelliccio is survived by his parents, his sister and his fiancée. Funeral arrangements have not been finalized.

Neighbors were grief-stricken when they learned of Pelliccio’s death.  One woman sadly reflecting that he had such friendly presence in the neighborhod, and noted that he was scheduled to be married next September.

There were no witnesses to the one vehicle accident and police were unable to immediately determine the circumstances leading to the crash.

Pelliccio was remembered as a dedicated officer whose first calling wasn’t police work. 

“He started his career as a school teacher,” Acting Suffolk County Police Commissioner Stuart Cameron said. “But he found an opportunity to follow his dream. His father was a member of the NYPD and his dream was to follow his footsteps and be a police officer also.”

In 2019, after surviving his battle with cancer, Pelliccio was given a distinguished service award for valor for his courage in overcoming cancer and returning to police work. He accepted the award with gratitude, thanking “My family, my police department and God for giving me the faith and  drive to do anything to make sure I was not only going to survive, but get back as soon as I could.”

Police have impounded his jeep for a safety check in hopes of determining what caused the accident.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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