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Veteran NYC Firefighter Killed In Motorcycle Crash In N.J.

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- One of New York's Bravest was killed Friday morning after his motorcycle was hit by an apparent drunken driver in New Jersey, officials said.

The incident happened on North Avenue at Vivian Terrace in Union Township around 5:15 a.m.

John Monteverde, 56, of Whitestone, Queens was heading from Pennsylvania, where he also had a home, to work at Engine 159 on Staten Island when he was struck and killed by a Honda Accord, 1010 WINS' Al Jones reported.

Veteran NYC Firefighter Killed In Motorcycle Crash In N.J.

"He was traveling to work. He was in his firehouse uniform," Union Police Lt. Robert Christie told WCBS 880's Jim Smith.

NYC Firefighter Killed In Union Township, N.J.
NYC firefighter John Monteverde killed in motorcycle accident in Union Township, N.J. (credit: CBS 2)

Christie said it appears the driver of the Accord, identified as 24-year-old Anthony Marsel of Elizabeth, rolled through a stop sign before hitting the motorcycle, Jones reported.

Veteran NYC Firefighter Killed In Motorcycle Crash In N.J.

"There's no reason that this driver should not have seen the motorcyclist coming," Christie said.

Monteverde was thrown from his bike, police said.

"He was thrown off his motorcycle as he took evasive maneuver to try to avoid a collision. He was struck by the car and thrown 30 feet," Christie said.

Monteverde was wearing a reflective vest at the time of the accident, authorities said. Officers reportedly detected the odor of alcohol on Marsel's breath and noted that his eyes were bloodshot, the Union County Prosecutor's Office said in a statement.

Marsel was charged with second-degree vehicular homicide, driving while intoxicated and other offenses in relation to the fatal accident.

His bail was set at $100,000 with no cash option by state Superior Court Judge Thomas J. Walsh.

Monteverde was a 31-year veteran of the FDNY. He leaves behind three adult children.

Fire Commissioner Salvatore Cassano issued the following statement Friday:

"The entire Department mourns the tragic loss of Firefighter John Monteverde, and we extend our deepest sympathies to his family and friends. John selflessly served the city for more than 31 years during which he was cited four times for his bravery at fires and for his life-saving medical work as a member of Engine Company 22 in Manhattan.  He also devoted countless hours working tirelessly at the World Trade Center site in the rescue and recovery effort following the September 11 terrorist attacks, which took the lives of nine of his fellow firefighters at Engine 22 and Ladder 13. Our hearts and prayers are with his family and all those who knew and loved him."

"Firefighter Monteverde, who died earlier today in Elizabeth, NJ, after being struck by a motorist, joined the Department on June 26, 1982.  After graduating from Probationary Firefighters School, he was assigned to Engine Company 22 on East 85th Street in Manhattan and worked there for nearly 30 years until transferring five months ago to Engine Company 159 on Staten Island.  He was 56 years old."

Residents told CBS 2's Jessica Schneider that accidents are common along this stretch of road.

"You need a light right there. You really do need a light. This is very dangerous. This ain't the first time, like three of four times this year. It's a very bad road," Greta Baisden said.

The incident happened about 100 yards from the site of another fatal crash about three weeks ago, according to authorities.

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