Mass. off-duty trooper suspected in fatal drunk driving wreck

Drunk driving occurs far too often in the Boston area. Oftentimes, drunk driving accidents result in more serious injuries than regular car accidents because of the speed and manner in which the intoxicated driver was driving.

Speed appears to have been a factor in a fatal drunk driving accident that involved an off-duty state trooper and claimed the lives of a mother and daughter last month. The accident occurred Sept. 22 in Plymouth and the trooper has since been charged.

The 25-year-old trooper faces charges of drunken driving, negligent operation of a vehicle, improper storage of a firearm and carrying a firearm while under the influence of alcohol. The trooper will be arraigned this week in Plymouth District Court.

An investigation at the scene of the accident revealed that the trooper had tossed his .45 into the bushes after the accident occurred. The state trooper allegedly told his friends that he had thrown the gun into the bushes because he was afraid of someone taking it when a crowd gathered at the crash site.

He also said that he had only consumed “a couple of beers” earlier that night at a party for a police dispatcher. However, a blood test at a state police crime lab revealed that the officer’s blood-alcohol level was .19, more than twice the legal limit to drive, later that night.

In Massachusetts, third parties can also be held liable for injuries caused by drunk driving under the state’s dram shop laws. Because the trooper had reportedly been drinking at a party hosted by the state police, it is possible that the state could be named in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by the family of the accident victims.

A more in-depth investigation will be necessary to determine if the off-duty trooper was at fault in the accident and to what extent the state may be liable, if at all.

Source: Herald.com, “Statie in fatal crash had ‘a couple beers’,” Gary J. Remal, Oct. 9, 2013