A Massachusetts State Trooper was killed Wednesday when a car crossed three lanes of highway traffic at a high rate of speed and slammed into his parked SUV as he sat in it, police said.
Trooper Thomas Clardy was taken to a local hospital where he was pronounced dead, according to a press release from the state police.
The other driver, David Njuguna, of Webster, was airlifted to a hospital with serious injuries. He is expected to be charged with negligent operation of a vehicle and failing to stay within marked lanes, police said.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Clardy’s Vehicle Was Struck After He Made a Traffic Stop
Trooper Thomas Clardy was working on a supplemental patrol shift, known as an Accident Incicent Reduction Shift, with a goal of preventing crashes. He stopped a Chevrolet Tahoe on the Massachusetts Turnpike in Charlton at about noon, police said.
After getting information from the driver of the Tahoe, Clardy went back to his Ford Explorer and began to process the motor vehicle stop, according to police.
Witnesses said a Nissan Maxima traveling at a high rate of speed in the left lane of the highway suddenly swerved to the right, crossing three lanes of traffic. It then struck the rear of Clardy’s SUV without slowing.
The crash sent the trooper’s Explorer into the Tahoe and then onto the grassy side of the highway. Troopers responded and found Clardy inside suffering from traumatic injuries. They began emergency first aid, including CPR, and he was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
It is not yet known why the driver swerved across the lanes.
2. He Is Survived by His Wife & 6 Children
Clardy is survived by his wife, Reisa, and their six children. His kids range from ages 4 to 17.
“Today we pray for them. The Massachusetts State Police are devastated for their loss. We will never be able to fill the hole that is left in their lives from this day forward, but they will always be part of our State Police family. We will forever hold them tight to our hearts, for the rest of their lives,” Colonel Richard McKeon said in a statement.
McKeon said funeral arrangements haven’t been finalized.
“Lauren and I are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Trooper Thomas Clardy who tragically lost his life in the line of duty,” Governor Charlie Baker said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, loved ones, fellow troopers and the law enforcement community during this very difficult time.”
3. He Served in the Marines & Joined the State Police in 2005
Clardy was a veteran of the Marines and joined the State Police in 2005, according to a press release.
He was part of the 77th Recruit Training Troop.
Clardy first worked for the Northampton and Sturbridge barracks and then the Troop C Community Action Team. He was assigned to the Charlton Barracks in November 2012.
“He was extremely well-liked by the men and women he worked with and had a reputation as a hard worker, a good trooper, and a great man,” Colonel Richard McKeon said. “He was known for his professionalism and dedication. All who knew him have, today, borne witness to his outstanding character.”
4. He Is Originally From Utah & Lived in Hudson, Massachusetts
Clardy is originally from Park City, Utah, the Boston Globe reports. His Facebook page shows that he attended the University of Utah.
He lived in Hudson, Massachusetts, with his family.
“It’s a shock because there’s a lot of young children,” neighbor Tom Walsh told CBS Boston. “They had just settled into the home, he was a hard working dedicated father. He was a father 100 percent.”
5. The Other Driver Could Face Additional Charges, Police Say
Police said the driver of the Nissan Maxima, David Njuguna, 30, of Webster, could face additional charges. Police are also seeking to have his license suspended.
“That investigation is being conducted by Troop E of the Massachusetts State Police with the assistance of the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, the State Police Crime Scene Services Section, the State Police Detective Unit for Worcester County, and the Office of Worcester District Attorney Joseph Early,” Colonel Richard McKeon said.