By Stephanie Banat
Editor’s note: Banat first wrote this piece as part of her internship at Herald Community Newspapers. To read the original, click here.
A Bay Parkway bridge over the Wantagh State Parkway has been dedicated to the late Elizabeth Horner-Miller Cutrone, a Long Island resident andNew York Police Department detective who died in a car crash on the bridge in 2015.
Cutrone, 51 of Bethpage, was a detective in the NYPD’s 90th and 69th precincts in Brooklyn and the Brooklyn North Narcotics Division.
Legislation to honor her was introduced by State Assemblyman David McDonough, a North Merrick Republican who represents the 14th District, and State Sen. John Brooks, a Seaford Democrat who represents the 8th Senate District. Bill S4772 was signed into law last month.
The honor for Cutrone coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. She worked at ground zero after the attacks on the World Trade Center.
Cutrone was killed on Aug. 15, 2015, on the Wantagh State Parkway, when a pickup truck crashed into her Jeep while changing lanes, Nassau County Legislator Rose Marie Walker, who represents District 17, said. Cutrone died while being airlifted to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow. Her husband, Douglas, who was also in the car, was severely injured.
The bridge — located in Jones Beach State Park, just north of Fields 4 and 5 — was officially renamed Detective Betsy Horner-Miller Cutrone Memorial Bridge on Aug. 19, when then Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill to do so.
“By naming after her a part of the state highway system near the place where she tragically lost her life,” Cuomo said in a statement that day, “we are paying a subtle tribute to her memory and to her devotion to serving others.”
McDonough, a member of the Assembly Transportation Committee, said he originally filed the bill two years ago, but it was not voted on at the end of that term. He reintroduced the legislation in February, when it was passed.
“Detective Cutrone had a great career, and there’s a lot to learn about her story,” McDonough said. “We are privileged to be able to make sure the memory of someone who served our community so well will live on forever. It will be something for her family, close friends, and husband to look forward to.”
McDonough said that the Department of Transportation was drafting the signage for the bridge, which would likely be finished soon. He added that he planned to hold a dedication ceremony within the next few weeks.
Brooks said that he enthusiastically supported honoring Cutrone. “When [McDonough] approached me about this, I immediately said yes, let’s do it,” Brooks said. “It’s the right thing to do.”
“It’s unfortunate, on the one hand, that nearly half of the parkways in this state are named after police officers,” he added. “But it’s important that we don’t forget these losses. I want people to pass the Cutrone Bridge and know who Detective Cutrone was.”
Brooks praised the police officers and other first responders who risk their lives for the community. “Naming these roadways and bridges after our fallen heroes is an important reminder that the world goes around because of the contributions of many people,” he said. “During the pandemic, hospital workers put their lives on the line to help save others. We as a society have to realize how super these people are, and not take them for granted.”
County Legislator Steve Rhoads, a Republican representing the 19th District, said the bridge was an appropriate tribute to Cutrone’s “service and sacrifice.
“It’s very fitting that we are creating this memorial of Detective Cutrone close to the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks due to her recovery efforts,” Rhoads said Monday. “The fact that we are doing this now puts an exclamation point on the significance of her service and what it means to all of us. It’s wonderful that the state is commemorating her in this way.”
Walker said she was thrilled when Brooks and McDonough introduced the legislation to rename the bridge, and that she hoped Cutrone’s memory would be celebrated hereafter.
“Detective Cutrone was a pillar of the Bethpage community, and someone who dedicated so much of herself to our community,” Walker said. “Hopefully people in generations to come will ask [who she was], then say her name, read information about her and remember her legacy.”