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A New York Fire Department (FDNY) emergency medical technician — and soon-to-be firefighter — was laid to rest Tuesday as his family offered a $25,000 reward for information on the driver who allegedly struck him.
As bagpipes wailed, hundreds gathered in Brooklyn to say goodbye to Kevin Liang, 27, who police said was on his motorcycle the evening of Sept. 30 when a vehicle hit him mid-span on the Kosciuszko Bridge.
Liang lost control and fell to the pavement, a New York Police Department (NYPD) spokesperson told NBC News in an email. He was taken to Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn and pronounced dead, police said. The investigation is ongoing.
Pang Lee, Liang’s cousin, remembered the Brooklyn native and son of immigrants from China as a man with a big heart.
“He’s never quick to be mad at anyone, always fun-loving, great guy,” Lee told NBC News.
Liang, who died just two days after celebrating his birthday, had passed his FDNY firefighter promotion test and was to enter the fire academy in December, according to Lee.
Police said what may have been a dark-colored sedan struck Liang as it changed from the left to center lane. Both vehicles were heading east on the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, according to the NYPD. Liang’s motorcycle came to rest in the right lane and the sedan left the scene, police said.
Lee said Liang was driving to the borough of Queens to meet his girlfriend for his birthday dinner. She became concerned after Liang didn’t show up, so she activated an app that located his cellphone, Lee said. It traced it to Woodhull Hospital.
“She called the hospital and they confirmed it was him,” Lee said.
Lee said the family decided to offer a $25,000 reward in hopes that someone who knows something about the hit-and-run might come forward. Information about the collision can be left at the Crime Stoppers phone hotline at (800) 577-TIPS or emailed directly to Liang's family.
“Time is of the essence,” he said.
So far, though, the family hasn’t received any fruitful tips as of Wednesday morning, according to Lee.
Liang was buried Tuesday at an upstate cemetery in Westchester, Lee said. He leaves behind a large family, which includes his mom, dad, and a sister who recently graduated from college, according to Lee.
The family is hoping to soon find answers to this tragedy.
“Why did he leave?” Lee said, referring to the driver of the vehicle that struck him. “This is a human being. It’s a fellow citizen. It’s a fellow New Yorker.”