Nassau officers honored for helping organ-carrying SUV

Posted: Updated:
WOODBURY -

Two Nassau County Highway Patrol officers were honored Thursday for their quick actions after coming across a vehicle with a flat tire on the Long Island Expressway.

That vehicle belonged to LiveOnNY, an organ procurement organization. It was transporting several organs for transplant at the time. Officers Michael Hughes and Marty Messina were able to quickly change the tire, making it possible to get the organs to a donor patient.

On May 27, Hughes says he was on the side of the road near LIE Exit 41 when he spotted the SUV stopped in the left lane. He says he knew he had to help and that time was of the essence.

"When I saw what it said on the side of the vehicle I realized we should try to help them get along a little bit quicker," says Hughes.

The problem was that Hughes says he didn't have the proper equipment to change the tire. Luckily, Officer Messina showed up a few minutes later.

"Him stopping by really did make the difference of getting it out of there much quicker than it would have otherwise," adds Hughes.

LiveOnNY president and CEO Helen Irving says the officers helped save a life.

"A small act of kindness, you never know where it's going to get you," she says.

To show her appreciation, Irving presented the officers with a gift of life medals, which are typically given to families of organ donors.

"Sometimes it's a thankless job, but today it's not, it's a good thing," Messina says.

Irving says there are about 10,000 people on the organ wait list in the state and that one New Yorker on the list dies every 18 hours.

  • SlideshowsSlideshowsMore>>

  • Dog Day Fridays for October 19

    Dog Day Fridays for October 19

    Friday, October 19 2018 7:56 AM EDT2018-10-19 11:56:57 GMT
    Olive weighs in at 67 pounds, but she is incredibly gentle in all her ways and when on walks, and would do well in many types of homes.Olive weighs in at 67 pounds, but she is incredibly gentle in all her ways and when on walks, and would do well in many types of homes.

    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Bideawee. The shelter is located at 118 Old Country Road in Westhampton. Their phone number is 631-684-0079.

    This week's dogs are up for adoption at Bideawee. The shelter is located at 118 Old Country Road in Westhampton. Their phone number is 631-684-0079.

  • Sights and scenes from the 2018 Oyster Fest

    Sights and scenes from the 2018 Oyster Fest

    Monday, October 15 2018 10:02 AM EDT2018-10-15 14:02:36 GMT

    Sights and scenes from the 2018 Oyster Fest in Oyster Bay on Oct. 13, 2018.

    Sights and scenes from the 2018 Oyster Fest in Oyster Bay on Oct. 13, 2018.

  • Just Married on Long Island

    Just Married on Long Island

    News 12 Long Island wants to announce your wedding. Share your pictures and videos with News 12 Long Island viewers!

    News 12 Long Island wants to announce your wedding. Share your pictures and videos with News 12 Long Island viewers!

sorry to interrupt
your first 20 are free
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please enjoy 20 complimentary views of articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.
you have reached your 20 view limit
Access to News 12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Spectrum Networks® and Service ElectricSM customers.
Please login or create an account to continue enjoying News12.
Our sign-up page is undergoing maintenance and is not currently available. However, you will be given direct access to news12.com while we complete our upgrade.
When we are back up and running you will be prompted at that time to complete your sign in. Until then, enjoy the local news, weather, traffic and more that's "as local as local news gets."