A Massachusetts state trooper was killed in a crash on the Mass. Pike in Charlton Wednesday afternoon.
Trooper Thomas Clardy, 44, leaves behind his wife and six children, aged four to 17, State Police Col. Richard McKeon said.
“The Massachusetts State Police are devastated for their loss,’’ McKeon said during a press conference outside the Charlton barracks, where Clardy was assigned. “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.’’
McKeon said Clardy, a Marine Corps veteran who joined the police force in 2005, had a reputation for being a hard worker and great man.
“He was known for his professionalism and dedication,’’ he said. “All who knew him have, today, borne witness to his outstanding character.’’
McKeon said Clardy was working a supplemental patrol shift aimed at preventing crashes when he stopped an SUV for a traffic violation around noon. His regular, scheduled shift was not due to begin until 3 p.m.
After obtaining information from the driver, Clardy returned to his cruiser to process the stop.
At that time, McKeon said a speeding Nissan Maxima crossed three travel lanes and struck the back of Clardy’s cruiser. The impact of the crash pushed the cruiser into the SUV parked in front of it and then off the side of the highway.
Responding troopers and first responders found Clardy in the cruiser with “traumatic injuries.’’ He was transported to UMass Medical Center in Worcester by an ambulance where he later died.
The driver of the Nissan, David Njuguna, 30, of Webster, was transported to the same hospital by mediflight with serious injuries.
McKeon said Njuguna has been criminally summonsed for negligent operation of a vehicle and failing to stay within marked lanes. Authorities are also seeking the suspension of his license.
What caused the Nissan to crash into Clardy’s cruiser is still under investigation, McKeon said.
A police escort traveled with the ambulance that carried Clardy’s body to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Boston’s South End, where officers lined the streets to their pay respects.
Gov. Charlie Baker released a statement Wednesday evening on the officer’s death.
“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,’’ he said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, loved ones, fellow troopers and the entire law enforcement community during this very difficult time.’’
Through the afternoon and evening, police departments across the region posted messages of condolences and solidarity on social media, many using #RIPClardy.