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By Tom Wilber
The Press & Sun-Bulletin

PORT DICKINSON, New York - A Port Dickinson police officer who was hit by a drunk driver while standing outside his patrol car Sunday has died, the Broome County Sheriff's Office said this morning.
Aldo Rossi, 42, died late Sunday night. While no formal cause of death has been issued, he sustained leg and head trauma in the crash.
Rossi was waiting for a Department of Transportation crew to remove a tree that had fallen across Route 7 in the village, according to information from the Broome County Sheriff's Office. At about 3:30 a.m. Sunday, a car pulled over on the shoulder, and Rossi walked over to talk with people inside it. A second vehicle crashed into the parked car and struck Rossi, according to the sheriff's office report.
Police filed multiple charges against the driver of the second vehicle, who was identified as Patrick J. Fitzgerald, 30, of Center Street in the Town of Fenton. He was charged with second-degree vehicular assault, a felony, and driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor.
Fitzgerald is a bartender at the Relief Pitcher in Binghamton, but police said they didn't know yet whether he was working that night or had stopped somewhere else on the way home.
Port Dickinson Mayor Kevin Burke said Rossi had been a part-time patrolman with the village since April 2007 and also worked for the Village of Deposit. He had befriended many residents and fellow police officers because of his outgoing nature, Burke said. Rossi was also a Binghamton businessman and owned Budget Auto Glass.
"He loved to talk with people. He knew people's names. He helped people," said Burke, who also recalled when Rossi recently took an elderly lady's arm and helped her across the street while directing traffic for a funeral. "People here are very fond of him."
A Critical Incident Team, including New York state troopers and City of Binghamton police, filled in for Port Dickinson police who visited Rossi at the hospital, Burke said. They also provided counseling for police on coping with the traumatic event and staying tuned in to their jobs.
"The message is, this is an emotional time. Look after yourself, and don't let your guard down," Burke said.
Fitzgerald was arraigned in the Town of Dickinson court and remanded to the Broome County Jail. Police haven't yet released his blood alcohol content or determined the speed he was traveling.
Fitzgerald and the unidentified occupants of the second vehicle were not injured, according to police.
The accident is still under investigation.

Wire Service
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