Thea Digiammerino

State Trooper Under Investigation for Involvement in Serious Crash

Police said Sgt. John McDonald crashed into another vehicle after failing to stop at a stop sign in Southbury on September 25.

A Middlebury mother and daughter continue to recover from their injuries after an off-duty state police trooper crashed his unmarked, detective car into their vehicle.

Sgt. John McDonald is currently the focus of multiple investigations.

Police say he didn’t stop at a stop sign.

In addition, Tuesday, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection confirmed that the detective had been at a trooper retirement party at an Oxford brewery that afternoon. They are looking to see if he had been drinking.

“Heart wrenching,” is how Kevin Conroy describes receiving the call that his wife and daughter were seriously injured in the car crash.

“They went for ice cream and were on their return trip home. Mom and daughter for an ice cream trip and it ended like that," he said.

According to an initial report of the crash September 25, a driver failed to stop at a stop sign on the Airport Road in Southbury around 7:30 p.m., smashing into Conroy’s wife’s car as she headed north on Route 188.

Conroy says it wasn’t until he went to police the next day that he learned it was a trooper behind the wheel of the other car.

“I was asked by the tow company who the other insurer for the vehicle was and I had a blank piece of paper that was handed to me. At that point, I had to become a detective so to speak.”

On Tuesday, Brian Foley, aide for the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection, said Sgt. McDonald was off-duty during the crash, driving a department vehicle, and refused treatment when he got to the hospital, so they don’t have a blood alcohol content report.

With that, they say they understand the family’s questions and concerns.

“Look, we share those same concerns. We hear the same things they hear and obviously it’s a part of our investigation,” said Foley.

Foley said there is a three-tiered investigation underway: motor vehicle, criminal, and internal affairs.

He said McDonald was out injured for some time, but continues to work his regularly assigned position with the Western District Major Crimes Unit out of Southbury during the investigations.

The lawyer for the Conroy family says they are in the process of filing a lawsuit as they wait for answers from police.

Kevin Conroy says he’s lucky his loved one are alive.

“I’m actually very happy that I’m in attendance for this meeting here to be able to discuss what’s going on verses planning or attending a funeral this weekend for my wife and daughter.”

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