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Funeral arrangements announced for trooper killed in training accident

Photo from NYS Police website

UPDATE:  Funeral arrangements have been finalized for a state trooper who died in a training exercise Wednesday. The wake for Trooper Ross Riley will be held this Sunday and Monday from 4 - 8pm each day at the Casey, Halwig and Hartle Funeral Home on West State Street in Olean.  The funeral service will take place Tuesday afternoon at 1:00 in the Reilly Center at St. Bonaventure University.

A New York State trooper died Wednesday afternoon when he fell into a gorge at Letchworth State Park in Wyoming County Wednesday.

44-year-old Trooper Ross Riley, a member of the Special Operations Response Team – West, based in Collins Center, died from injuries sustained during a fall while participating in training drills at Letchworth.

State Police said Riley fell during a "high angle rescue training".  Trooper Riley fell from a ledge approximately 30 feet into Wolf Creek. He was transported by Mercy Flight to Wyoming County Community Hospital where he died.

New York State Police public information officer Victor Morales told WBFO News team members train for gorge rescues because they occur so often in Western New York.

"Especially for our sort team members. The sort team goes out and helps out the parks police at all times, whenever they need it. we help in whatever capacity we can.  The sort team members are highly trained and this is extremely unusual that something like this had happened. It's never happened in my memory, my 30 years on the job that something like this happened," said Trooper Morales.

Morales said Troopers train year-round for rescues because people get into trouble in region parks.  Riley's unit was honored for rescuing an injured hunter in the Zoar Valley

Trooper Riley was a 17 year veteran of the New York State Police.  He worked in Troops A, E and F and became of a member of SORT, then named the Mobile Response Team, in March of 2000. He received a commendation for his service as a member of the Mobile Response Team at Ground Zero following the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Credit Photo from NYS Police website
Trooper Ross M. Riley

Trooper Riley, a veteran of the Persian Gulf Conflict, served as a U.S. Marine from 1987 until he was honorably discharged in 1992.

During his military service he was awarded a number of commendations including Good Conduct Medal, Overseas Service Ribbon and National Defense Medal.

He is survived by his wife, New York State Police Station Commander Heidi Riley, SP Olean and their three daughters, 10-year-old Abaigeal, 8-year-old Katherine and 3-year-old Jillian.    

Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a statement in response to the death of the trooper:

“Following this unfortunate tragedy, our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Trooper Ross Riley. Trooper Riley was a devoted member of our State Police force, committed to protecting New Yorkers and ensuring their safety. His dedication to his work is commendable and his service, no doubt, touched the lives of many. The contributions he made as a member of the New York State Police will never be forgotten.”