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Green Island honors two men who aided injured police officer

Updated: 08/18/2014 11:54 PM
Created: 08/18/2014 11:12 PM WNYT.com
By: Steve Flamisch

GREEN ISLAND – Robert Coffey, Christopher Cosgrove, and village police officer William Rice reunited Monday for the first time since the incident that brought them together.

On June 20, a vehicle rear-ended Rice’s parked patrol car, crushing vertebrae in his neck. Then, the other driver allegedly attacked Rice and tried to grab his gun.

Coffey, who was on business at the time, and Cosgrove, who was driving home from work, stopped their cars and ran to the officer’s aide.

"The subject was on top of Mr. Rice," said Coffey, who is also a volunteer firefighter in Ballston Spa. "He asked for help, and we pulled him off and put him on the ground."

Cosgrove recalled, "The guy was just kind of yelling, 'Shoot me. Shoot me. Shoot me,' and wanted to go to the mental health facility. I kind of said, 'We'll get you there. Just stay calm.'"

The alleged attacker, James Knowles of Troy, is charged with assault and reckless endangerment. He is out on $10,000 bail, a spokeswoman for the Albany County District Attorney’s Office said.

Rice, a married father of seven who also works for the Albany County Sheriff’s Department, is back on light duty while still undergoing medical treatment. He thanked Coffey and Cosgrove.

"It was nice of them to stop and help," Rice said. "I really appreciate what they did. It was a busy day that day -- a lot of people on the road -- and it's funny that, out of all that, only two people stopped."

At Monday night’s meeting of the Green Island Village Board, Mayor Ellen McNulty-Ryan recognized Coffey and Cosgrove, telling them the village will be forever grateful.

"It really could have turned out differently, so I can't thank you enough for what you did," she said. Then, turning to hug Rice, she added, "And I'm really glad you're here."

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