Metropolitan Transportation Authority, New York, MTA Press Conference – 01/28/2021

Today we come with you with a very good story: very happy story, very happy ending on the morning of monday january 25th, bridges and tunnels or tribal bridges. Tunnel authority received a communication from the newburgh city police department, letting us know of a missing vulnerable adult or like we. We like to call a silver alert that alert came into our command center uh approximately 10 o’clock. In the morning at the drugs neck bridge, we received a report that we may have made contact with that individual in that vehicle. So without further ado i’d like to introduce the officer that was uh directly involved officer joseph moncada good afternoon yeah, so that morning i came to work and uh at roll call. They had a bulletin on a 91 year old male uh went missing so approximately 10 a.m. I posted my vehicle headed southbound and we have a license plate reader computer in the car uh, which went off and uh to. Let me know that this car just passed me on the bridge, so i pursued the vehicle and i towards i got towards the bottom of the bridge and i spotted them. I put my lights on. I pulled them over uh. You know like any car stop. I was really cautious uh i called my command to. Let them know i had a car stop. I called the desk and uh, it was confirmed and i approached the vehicle and i, mr uh calculus i uh he rolled down his window and i said uh.

You know, can i have your license registration. His first response was uh. Do i do anything wrong? I said oh, not at all. He was a really nice guy and i was like everything is good. I just think your family members are looking for you, nothing going on here, just i’ll be with you in a minute. So at that point uh i called my sergeant actually when i did ask him: where were you heading? He said he was going to yonkers to help someone move and at 91 years old you know it’s a little rough to help somebody move, but so i called my sergeant to come back me up and sergeant whoever came and he took it from there. So sergeant rivera good afternoon, um yeah, so as officer makata stated uh, he made the stop um. At that point i was just coming on. I um verified the bulletin. You know got myself familiar with the uh. The case and um made sure the command center verified that it was accurate. That was the person the vehicle um. The desk contest uh contacted uh ems, so the uh individual could be assessed. Um, you know make sure he was okay, not injured. You know good state of mind um and at that point i made my way over to the uh to the clearview expressway southbound, where we had him off on the shoulder. When i got there, ems was assessing him. They said he was fine.

Vitals were good. You know he good mental state um. You know, however, we did have to bolo. You know. Obviously, people were looking for him um. I was in touch with the command center, who uh gave me the uh contact information for his granddaughter and also related to her. So i became the contact for her, so we got the vehicle moved, moved the individual back to the bronx to our administration building. You know so he could be comfortable and safe and waiting for the granddaughter. A few minutes later i got a call from her miss munoz uh, let her know where we were and that she could come over and you know reunite with her grandfather, and i believe we have miss munoz here now. Hi everyone and thank you again go ahead. Miss munoz, we can hear you okay, i’ll, just take off my hood it’s, really cold i’m gon na keep the mask on you. Guys could hear me right. We hear you just fine, okay, great um. I just want to say that you guys are so awesome and thank you so much for what you did. Uh my family and i were going crazy, trying to look for him and you guys as soon as i went to newburgh and filed the missing report, and they, you know, got in contact with you guys and when i was on my way to work monday morning. I saw all the electric bulletins with all his information on it.

I was like okay, they got the ball rolling. So then, when i got here to work, i started getting phone calls. I was just here at work, maybe like a half an hour and then i took off and then um went and i met you guys at the grosneck bridge over there. I was so happy about that and i just want to say that you know you guys did this really fast. Once i went to newburgh and filed the missing uh report, you guys went and started looking for my grandfather, and i appreciate that so much because he’s, not only my grandpa he’s, my dad he raised me since i was a baby, so it meant so much to Me and how sweet each and every one of you were to me and to my grandfather – and i just want to say you don’t – really see that a lot here in new york, with the nypd i’m born and raised here in manhattan, so just to meet wonderful Police officers, like you thank you, that’s amazing, and it feels good because they are really good cops out there, and i just wish that everybody could experience what i experienced at my grandfather yeah. It was like you guys and you guys were to the end. So i was looking for grandpa’s um car and i couldn’t find it and um you came out your vehicle and was like. Oh, the cars will be here and how’s your grandpa.

I i never ever experienced that with the nypd. You guys are awesome and i hope and and pray that you know we could all heal from all this that’s going on, because i know there’s a lot of tension. When i went my aunt went to go file the originally she lives on 95th and columbus. She went to go file a missing report because that’s what she was told to do – and nobody in that precinct, wanted to help her and then my um, my um, my cousin, had to call 9 1 1 and then that’s when somebody came to her house and She was giving all the information, so she was like really upset and stuff like that. So to meet you guys and encounter you guys and treat my grandfather with respect and with the care that you did. It means a lot because a lot of people don’t experience that – and this is the first time i’ve ever experienced – that here coming from new york. So i thank you and you need. I. I want everybody to know that you know there’s a lot of you guys get a lot of bad rap, but you know what there’s wonderful police officers like you that make me have hope and i just want to say. Thank you again. Thank you. You’Re welcome. We we we thank you. You know i thank officer, joseph moncada and sergeant roberto rivera for their actions and you’re and you’re 100 and you’re 100 right.

Mr munoz uh a lot of this uh behind the scenes stuff. You know it doesn’t get out there. So you know i thank the uh, the mta and the mta press office and yourself for for coming on today, but the story doesn’t end here i’d like to introduce our of our vp and chief of operations, richard hildebrand for a special presentation rich good afternoon. Everyone and thank you, miss munoz for for your kind words. As the leader of this department made up of wonderful men and women. It really makes me proud to hear that their work uh. It goes above and beyond. What’S what’s expected out there, and i really do think that sergeant, rivera and officer moncada downplayed their actions on that day as just something that we do every day. You know we do several hundred thousand vehicles crossing our facilities every day and to find one vehicle is like a needle in a haystack, basically and officer. Monkatta took that uh, bolo or beyond the lookout that’s. What we called him and he he took it to heart – and he said today, i’m gon na – do what i can to to help this family out and i’m very proud of you, joe for what you did it. It really went. It really went above and beyond, to keep the people safe and rob sergeant rivera. Your quick response to the scene to continue officer, mankata’s investigation and to have the wherewithal to you know, contact the family and do that.

Reach back really had this situation end properly and and in a great way, so for your actions on that day, sergeant rivera. I hope everyone can see this you’re receiving the tribal bridge. Intel authority’s excellent police duty award that’s issued to you for helping to reunite the family with their grandfather on that day and officer moncada. For you, we have our meritorious service award, so you’re both receiving an award bar that you’ll wear above your shield and a nice certificate that you can display. We are as a group as a whole, as you know, the 600 or so members of service for for tbta or mta bridges and tunnels as we’re called um. I i do thank you. I i really. I really express our pride and and the dignified way you handle this situation, so thank you very much, president. Thank you. Thank you. Rich welters well deserved, and i think mrs munoz i see her nodding up and down. I think she she agrees and i see the thumbs up uh so again. This is this was a story that had a happy ending and i’m i’m glad that officer, mankata and sergio rivera are on duty that day to make it happen. So if it’s, all right with you let’s just get questions from reporters who may have questions any reporters have questions for any of the individuals who are with us today. Uh david meyer, i can’t see if you got the hand up, but i have a question go ahead.

I think i’ve got the whole story here, but i appreciate it um if, if maybe, if officer mccarthy, wanted to tell me a little bit about. Oh sorry, if you can’t hear me if you want to tell me a little bit about uh what was going through your mind as you approached the vehicle and when you made contact with the man and what sort of um behavior you felt you needed to demonstrate In that moment, sure yes, so, like any uh any vehicle, stop that i go through it’s i’m, always cautious and i’m, always my guards always up because it doesn’t matter if it’s, a silver alert or any alert uh amber alert. You still have to uh receive a caution, so i did when i approached the vehicle. I did do that and when he rolled down the window, even though he’s 91 years old – and he seemed like a really nice guy – and i still got a little nervous – but he was he was great – he was a really nice guy and – and i looked at Him and i said to myself: he’s lost, obviously he’s lost again that’s when i caught back up and it turned out to be. He was an amazing guy when we brought him back to the building. He was telling me about his first marriage, his second marriage and believe me. It was amazing. It was again. My father is 88 years old and um so talking to him, it was.

It was beautiful and i’m so happy that i got him home with his family, because that could be my father, my uncle but yeah his demeanor was was great yeah honestly, i don’t think he wasn’t he didn’t realize he was lost. He was just going about his day, but that’s it. No other reporters uh have questions. You guys have covered it. We go back to danny d crescenzo, although miss munoz anything you wanted to add or say to the officers um again. I am so grateful for you guys taking care of my grandpa, like i said that’s, my dad also he raised me since i was a baby and i was born and i was brought up here in manhattan on the upper west side, so for them to take Care of grandpa the way he’s it’s great, and thank you so much again from the bottom of my heart and my family’s heart. We are so grateful for you guys and god bless you seriously. Thank you to a hug to you guys. I am i’m excited to do this for you and i’m happy to be part of this. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you again, mr munoz officer mccarter sandra rivera uh, chief hildebrand, and at this time we’ll conclude this and uh. You know, thanks to the reporters and thanks to the press office and the mta, for allowing us to tell this great story that a great happy ending thank you.

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