Bridges Memorialize Troopers

Two bridge overpasses on the Taconic State Parkway have been named in honor of two Troopers from Troop K killed in the line of duty, Trooper Brian Rovnak and Trooper Robert Dunning. The efforts for the overpass dedication were spearheaded by Zone Sergeant James Sweeney, who is stationed at SP Wappinger in Troop K. The full-sized signs were recently put into place. The bridge across the Taconic on Beekman Road in the town of East Fishkill was designated the “Trooper Brian N. Rovnak Memorial Bridge,” and the bridge across the Taconic on Bulls Head Road in the town of Stanford was designated as the “Trooper Robert G. Dunning Memorial Bridge.”

Legislative bills to enact the bridge memorials were passed by the New York State Assembly and Senate, then later signed into law by Gov. George Pataki.

Trooper Rovnak was killed in a one-car accident on Interstate 84 on Feb. 2, 1983, as he and his partner were enroute to meet another patrol. Rovnak, 39, had been a Trooper for 16 years and was a Vietnam veteran.

Trooper Dunning was killed on June 14, 1987 as he and Sgt. Robert Garzetta responded to a complaint of a man menacing a neighbor with a rifle. Dunning and Garzetta began talking to the man, and without warning, the man began shooting at the State Police members. Dunning, 45, was mortally wounded in the heart, and Garzetta was wounded in the leg. Garzetta returned fire and wounded the man, who then shot and killed himself with the rifle. Garzetta has since retired from the State Police, in April 2005.