WC cop recovering after cruiser pierced by falling branch

Investigators say that a Westchester County police detective escaped what could've been a fatal accident with minor injuries thanks to a custom modification in his police cruiser yesterday.

Detective Anthony Rao was on overtime duty patrolling the Bronx River Parkway early in the morning when a tree branch came crashing through his windshield, nearly killing him.

Capt. Thomas Gleason said that a steel bar in Rao's cruiser, which separates the prisoner compartment from the officer, may have helped save Rao's life. "That bar is right up against the roof line of the car and provided extra support, and most likely kept it from collapsing," Gleason added.

Rao is now at home recovering after being treated and released from Westchester Medical Center.

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