A state police trooper suffered head trauma and several leg fractures when he and another man were struck by a car while picking up a truck bed liner Thursday evening on Interstate 91 northbound in Hartford, according to police.
State police have identified the trooper as Michael Quaglioroli, who has been assigned to patrol at Troop H in Hartford for the past eight months. Neighbors said Quaglioroli is also a member of the Air National Guard.
According to police, Quaglioroli pulled over near exit 33 to help the driver of a pickup, identified as Enfield resident Aaron Altenhein, after a piece of his bed liner fell onto the highway.
Quaglioroli parked his cruiser in the center lane and turned on his emergency lights to shield them from oncoming traffic, police said.
According to police, a car driving northbound at about 50-60 mph went around the parked cruiser and struck Quaglioroli and Altenhein while they were picking up pieces of bed liner. Both were injured.
An ambulance rushed Quaglioroli to Hartford Hospital, where's listed in serious but stable condition. He underwent emergency surgery Thursday night and is conscious and alert, police said Friday.
A friend visiting Quaglioroli at the hospital said the trooper's injuries are extensive and he could face a long road to recovery.
Altenhein was taken to Saint Francis Hospital in stable condition, according to police. He had been released from the hospital by Friday afternoon.
Police said the driver of the offending vehicle, 65-year-old Ilona Perez-Gladu, of West Haven, is cooperating with investigators. She has not been charged, and there's no indication that drugs or alcohol played a part in the crash, according to police.
Interstate 91 was closed in both directions near Jennings Road and traffic was backed up for several hours. The State Department of Transportation sent out an alert just after 11:30 p.m. saying the crash scene had been cleared.
State police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance said the trooper was doing his best to keep everyone safe.
"It's a trooper's responsibility to ensure safety of motorists on all roads in Connecticut," Vance said. "This trooper was doing everything he could."
They're continuing to investigate the crash and reminding motorists to slow down and take caution when approaching an emergency scene.