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Pelham Manor Officer Tillistrand Wants to Return

PELHAM MANOR, N.Y. – Injured Pelham Manor Police Officer Michael Tillistrand is still undergoing physical therapy but is making “a great amount of progress” and is “eager to come back to work,” Pelham Manor Police Chief Al Mosiello said.

“He wants to come back – that’s what he said to me the other day when I saw him – ‘I can’t wait to come back.’ He loves being a police officer,” Mosiello said. “So, hopefully, he will be back soon. I don’t know how soon, but sooner than we all expected, that’s for sure.”

Tillistrand suffered serious injuries during a Nov. 15 traffic stop, which left him in critical condition after he was hit by a car at 6:30 p.m. He declined to comment until he returns to active duty.

The chief is “happy” with Tillistrand’s speedy recovery and said that Tillistrand told him the doctors are “very, very, very happy and surprised that he’s making such great progress.”

Mosiello did not expect Tillistrand, a Yorktown resident, Afghanistan war veteran and former New York City police officer, to be able to recover as quickly as he has. Mosiello called it “amazing.”

“I never really experienced anybody with a head injury like that, but I was under the assumption that it was going to take an extreme amount of time for recovery, and I didn’t know what the capacity was after his recovery,” Mosiello said. “But after seeing him – he’s young, ambitious – I guess he’s got great healing powers. So, hopefully, you’ll be doing a story that he returns to work.”

Detective Tim DiSantola and Mosiello described Tillistrand’s demeanor and recovery as “strong” and “ambitious.” Mosiello said Tillistrand told him that as “soon as the doctors give him clearance, he’s really optimistic that he’s going to come back to work.”

While Tillistrand is young, the chief said “he’s accomplished a lot,” including serving as an officer in the New York Police Department for five years and coming home from the war in Afghanistan as a captain in the U.S. Army. Before serving in the Army, he graduated from the University of North Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in history.

The car that struck Tillistrand was driven by Jillian Ruggiero, who is the daughter of Pelham Manor Fire Chief Joseph Ruggiero. No charges have been brought against her as “the case is still under investigation,” said Lucian Chalfen, spokesperson for the Westchester County district attorney.

“We’re waiting for the accident reconstruction report to be sent over from the county police,” Chalfen said. “They’re the people who are doing it. So once we’ve received that, we’ll make a determination, and then we’ll go from there.”

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