A Connecticut state trooper who was charged with DUI after a September crash in Southbury that injured a mother and daughter appeared in court on Monday and the case has been continued until next month.
Sgt. John McDonald, 37, was charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, second-degree assault with a motor vehicle, reckless driving and failure to obey a stop sign.
He and his lawyer had no comment Monday and said they do not have one while the case is pending.
Police said McDonald was off-duty in his unmarked police car when he didn’t stop at a stop sign on Sept. 25, crashing into a car traveling on Route 188. According to the arrest warrant, McDonald was driving 71 miles per hour just before the crash. The posted speed limit in the area is 40 miles per hour.
Witnesses to the crash described McDonald as "slurring his words" and smelling of alcohol, according to the warrant. McDonald never took a blood alcohol test.
When asked at a news conference why McDonald was never tested, police said when there are possible injuries the protocol is to take crash victims to the hospital, which they did. Police said McDonald then left the hospital against medical advice and before investigators got there.
According to the arrest warrant, a nurse did note that McDonald walked out with a steady gait accompanied by friends, and in ambulance dispatch records, under the listed category of alcohol, there's a notation of "none" documented next to it. Investigators said video has been obtained from the hospital and will be part of the investigation.
Before the crash, McDonald was at the Black Hog Brewing Company in Oxford, according to the warrant. Based on surveillance footage, investigators believe McDonald drank at least eight alcoholic drinks between 2:19 p.m. and 5:13 p.m. He is later seen ordering more drinks and bringing them outside, where he cannot be seen by surveillance.
McDonald had already been suspended administratively, which means his police powers have been stripped but he is still receiving pay. His police identification and firearm have been taken. He has been with the department for 13 years.
An internal affairs investigation is underway and the criminal investigation continues.
The case has been continued until Feb. 24.