Monday, March 21, 2016

Still Trooping Along

The highest respect I can pay is letting it lead my blog:

"State trooper killed in Mass. Pike crash" by Astead W. Herndon and Shelley Murphy Globe Staff  March 16, 2016

CHARLTON — A Massachusetts State Police trooper was killed during a routine traffic stop around noon Wednesday when a car swerved off the Massachusetts Turnpike and smashed into his cruiser in the breakdown lane.

Thomas L. Clardy, 44, a US Marine Corps veteran and a married father of six children, had returned to his parked cruiser after pulling over a driver for a traffic violation when it was struck by a Nissan Maxima that had swerved across all three travel lanes, authorities said.

The wayward car smashed into the back of Clardy’s Ford Explorer without slowing, delivering a “tremendous impact,” Colonel Richard McKeon, superintendent of the State Police, said at a somber news conference.

Clardy, who joined the State Police in 2005, was extremely well-liked by his colleagues and had earned a reputation as a “hard worker, a good trooper, and a great man,”

“All who knew him have, today, borne witness to his outstanding character,” he said.

The driver of the Nissan, identified as David Njuguna of Webster, was charged with negligent operation of a motor vehicle and failure to stay within marked lanes, McKeon said. Authorities are also seeking the immediate suspension of his driver’s license and could file additional criminal charges against him.

Njuguna suffered serious injuries in the crash.

Njuguna’s license was suspended for 180 days in October 2013 when he refused to take a breathalyzer after being stopped by police in Oxford, according to Registry of Motor Vehicles records. His license was reinstated in June 2014 after he paid a reinstatement fee, and it was valid at the time of Wednesday’s crash, according to the records.

The only other incident on his Massachusetts driving record came in October 2012, when he was involved in an accident in Webster that led to a surcharge on his insurance.

In a telephone interview, a relative of Njuguna’s said the family was distraught over what happened.

A native of Kenya, Njuguna came to the United States around 2009 and works as a medical technician, the relative said.

On his Facebook page, Njuguna wrote that he studied accounts and finance in Kenya and moved to the Worcester area last fall.

Asked what could have made Njuguna abruptly swerve across traffic, the relative said it was highly out of character.

“That’s unlike him to do that,” he said. “I can’t even explain that.”

Family members were planning to go to the hospital Wednesday night and hoped they would be able to see Njuguna.

Clardy was the first trooper to die from injuries sustained in the line of duty since 2011, when Ellen Engelhardt succumbed to her injuries from a crash eight years earlier. A drunk driver had slammed into the rear of her cruiser while it was parked on the shoulder on Route 25 in Wareham.

In 2010, Sergeant Douglas Weddleton was killed while on a highway traffic detail in Mansfield when one alleged drunk driver plowed into another, trapping him under a car.

Clardy had been scheduled to start his shift at 3 p.m., but began early to work a supplemental patrol shift with the goal of preventing crashes.

After pulling over a car for a traffic violation, Clardy was sitting in his police car, gathering information from the car he just pulled over, when his cruiser was struck by the Nissan.

The impact pushed Clardy’s cruiser into the car that had been pulled over.

At the State Police barracks in Charlton where Clardy was stationed, troopers held their heads in sadness and embraced each other. The news conference was delayed for hours as State Police officers notified Clardy’s family of his death, and investigators searched the three cars involved in the accident.

According to his Facebook page, Clardy is from Park City, Utah, and studied marine biology at the University of Utah....


He “leaves six children and a wife behind,” and its too bad because Njuguna is a “good, sweet, guy with no problems.”

"Condolences pour in for trooper killed during traffic stop" by Laura Crimaldi and Shelley Murphy Globe Staff  March 17, 2016

HUDSON — New details emerged about Njuguna’s driving record. In October 2013, Njuguna was charged with drunken driving, negligent operation, and speeding after a 3 a.m. crash in Webster, according to a spokesman for the State Police, who was unable to say how the charges were resolved.

The exact circumstances of the case remained a mystery because court records are not publicly available. However, a person familiar with the case said the charges were dismissed and the case was sealed.

Njuguna refused to take a breathalyzer after the 2013 crash, according to Registry of Motor Vehicles records, and his license was suspended for six months.

In Wednesday’s fatal crash, he is charged with negligent operation of a motor vehicle and failure to stay within marked lanes. Witnesses say Njuguna was driving at a high rate of speed and crashed into the cruiser without slowing.

Njuguna’s relative said the family is worried about his health and hopes he will recover and provide some explanation....


I didn't want to bring it up, but....

"Richard Pieri, a Pennsylvania nurse, told investigators that he visited Mohegan Sun casino at Pocono Downs on Feb. 4 and drank four or five beers while playing slots. He said he went home but was paged about the emergency surgery at around 11:30 that night." 

I'm so glad casinos are coming here! 

That won't help win any sympathy for the strike:

"Nurses at Newton-Wellesley Hospital voted Wednesday to authorize union leaders to call a one-day strike if contentious contract negotiations with the hospital continue. Ninety percent of the nurses who voted cast ballots in favor of authorizing a strike, according to the union, the Massachusetts Nurses Association. Newton-Wellesley Hospital and North Shore Medical Center are both owned by Partners HealthCare, the state’s largest health care system. The nurses union said it is protesting “the failure of Partners HealthCare to provide the best possible patient care and working conditions while dishing out exorbitant salary hikes to top executives.” Partners’ chief executive and the chiefs of its two largest hospitals earn more than $2 million a year each....


My position -- from a patients perspective -- has always been give the nurses whatever they want. No one wants a disgruntled nurse caring for them, and not because they might be negligent. Not at all. You just want that person happy, no?

Also seeWake, funeral service set for trooper killed in Mass. Pike crash

That's not making anyone happy, including me.


Thousands mourn fallen state trooper at wake

Also see:

Two N.H. troopers escape serious injuries after roadside crash

Trooper killed in Mass. Pike crash remembered at funeral service

Man who fatally struck trooper released from hospital

He's Muslim and the cop was Mormon.