By Arielle Dollinger
Two off-duty police officers were killed in two separate car crashes in Suffolk in two days.
On Sunday, Richard Kappel, 40, of Speonk, who was a police officer for the Village of Quogue, swerved off the road and hit a tree while driving a Ferrari northbound on Speonk-Riverhead Road in Eastport at 3:23 p.m., according to Southampton Town Police. Christian Gomez, 33, of New Hyde Park, who was a passenger in the car, was ejected along with Kappel and the vehicle then caught fire.
Kappel and Gomez were both pronounced dead at the scene. They were then taken to Suffolk County Medical Examiner’s Office in Hauppauge where an autopsy will be conducted. Although investigation is still underway, initial findings show that excessive speed was a contributing factor in the accident’s cause, police said. The investigation will continue and a safety check will be done on the vehicle, which has been impounded by police.
The next day, during the early morning hours on Monday, off-duty 3rd Precinct Suffolk police officer Robert Bowen, 34, of Ronkonkoma, lost control of his BMW near exit 58 on the eastbound side of the Long Island Expressway at 4:15 a.m., according to the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office. Bowen’s car struck a Ford Explorer and a guardrail before it overturned. He was pronounced dead at the scene, investigators said.
Bowen was a seven-year veteran of the force and former U.S. Marine who served in Iraq who had received multiple honors for his work. He is survived by his wife and 2-year-old daughter.
Kappel was an eight-year veteran who also received multiple honors for his work. He had served in the Air National Guard prior to joining to department and is survived by his wife and two daughters.
Anyone who has further information about Bowen’s crash is asked to contact the Sheriff’s office at 631-852-2292.