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Port Authority Officer and former MLB Pitcher Killed in Car Accident

In the early morning hours of September 11, 2022, Port Authority Officer and former MLB pitcher Anthony Varvaro was killed in a car accident. He was traveling to a September 11 memorial ceremony along the New Jersey Turnpike Hudson Bay Extension when he was struck by a Toyota driving in the wrong direction. The driver, Henry Plazas, also died in the crash.

Anthony Varvaro had a unique story and role in his community. Born in 1984 in Staten Island, New York, Varvaro knew the friends and families of many first responders who had lost their lives on 9/11. His memory of 9/11 and the first responders’ great sacrifices inspired his decision to retire from the MLB to become a Port Authority police officer. While competing in the minor leagues, he completed a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from St. John’s University. After entering the MLB, he pitched for the Seattle Mariners, Atlanta Braves, and Boston Red Sox, and retired after six years. He then served as a Port Authority patrol officer for five years before transferring to work as an Academy Instructor. While a patrol officer, Varvaro was stationed at the World Trade Center Command.

Varvaro’s contribution to his Staten Island community went far beyond his service as an officer. When he presented to high school students, he stressed to them the importance of continuing their education and persevering despite the challenges they would face. In 2021, he was named president of the Snug Harbor Little League, which he used as an opportunity to campaign for league facility renovations; the League ultimately received $1.2 million in funding.

At home, Varvaro was a devoted husband and the father of four children. He was beloved by his workplace, community, friends, and family.

When something as tragic as this occurs, family members often look for answers.  Since both drivers perished, the facts and circumstances can only be pieced together by a thorough investigation.  Undoubtedly, state and perhaps local authorities are in that process now.  They usually do this to determine whether criminal charges should be filed.  The fact that the reckless driver died may affect the extent of the investigation.  The family does have a right to bring a wrongful death civil lawsuit and that comes with months of fact discovery.  Unfortunately, by reason of New Jersey’s antiquated wrongful death laws, they can only recover his conscious pain and suffering as well as their future economic losses.  Sadly, their emotional loss is not considered. That is the second tragedy; The emotional loss of family members does not count.  In the memory of Officer Varvaro, the legislators and governor need to correct this defect in our law. I call upon New Jersey to pass the Varvaro Law to honor his memory.

We at the Law Office of Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C, extend our sincere condolences to all those affected by Anthony Varvaro’s passing.  May his memory be a blessing.

About the author

Garry Salomon is a founding partner of Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C. and serves as the managing partner. He is Certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Civil Trial Attorney, an honor held by less than 2% of attorneys. Garry Salomon’s main areas of concentration include all areas of personal injury law. He is also the author of the book “The Consumer’s Guide to New Jersey Personal Injury Claims.” To receive a free copy, please email or fill out our online form.