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An Alarming Trend in Massachusetts

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  • An Alarming Trend in Massachusetts

    MA Troopers Hit 45 Times this Year, 23 by Drunk Drivers
    By: Richard Weir, Boston Herald


    An alleged boozy, wrong-way driver’s crash into a state police cruiser early yesterday morning marked the 23rd time in the past year and a half that a driver charged with OUI has been nabbed for hitting a state police vehicle — an alarming statistic that has state police brass fired up.

    “Enough is enough,” said Lt. Colonel Tim Alben, commander of the Massachusetts State Police division of field services.

    “We are tired of our people being killed and maimed while they are out there doing their job. This isn’t what we pay people to do. We don’t pay them to get killed or hurt in accidents like this by impaired drivers.”



    The 12:13 a.m. crash in Dorchester during which the driver allegedly tried to flee comes less than five days after a trooper suffered a fractured leg when a hit-and-run driver plowed into him in a Mass. Pike tunnel in South Boston.

    Since Jan. 1, 2010, 45 state troopers have been struck and injured, either while in their cruisers or on foot, by out-of-control drivers. More than half of those accidents involved drivers impaired by alcohol.

    One crash claimed the life of Sgt. Douglas Weddleton, who was killed last June in Mansfield while he was on a traffic detail.

    Surprisingly, the rising number of drivers striking state police troopers comes at a time when the state’s and nation’s roadways are actually becoming safer.

    According to data from the National Traffic Safety Administration, traffic deaths in Massachusetts dropped 24 percent from 1994 to 2009, falling from 440 to 334 fatalities. Nationwide, deaths have declined by 17 percent in that same period, from 40,716 to 33,808.

    “We see this frequency of impaired drivers hitting our troopers while they are out on patrol at the same time we see fatalities dropping,” said Alben, who is in charge of all uniformed state police operations. “It’s a real conundrum to figure out what’s at the root cause of this. . . . It’s hard to fathom that this is going on.”

    Alben said it’s not for a lack of enforcement. With the start of the warm weather, state police have ramped up the number of sobriety checkpoints and are in full swing for the Memorial Day weekend.

    But at 12:13 a.m. yesterday, Cara Della Barba, 28, of Weymouth drove a 1998 Nissan Maxima the wrong way on Morrissey Boulevard, “steered toward the cruiser” and crashed into its left fender — despite Trooper Brian Quigley flashing his emergency lights in an effort to avoid the collision with the oncoming car, police said.

    “The operator of the suspect vehicle then drove over the divider island and tried to escape, but due to extensive damage to the vehicle’s transmission, the operator was forced to stop,” state police spokesman David Procopio said in a statement.

    Procopio said Quigley, who was on routine patrol and heading northbound on Morrissey Boulevard near Freeport Street in a semi-marked cruiser when he was struck by the southbound car, was taken by ambulance to Boston Medical Center. He was treated there for a lower body injury and released, returning to his barracks to write his report on the incident.

    Della Barba failed a field sobriety test and was charged with OUI liquor, wrong-way operation, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of a person with injury in an accident and marked lanes violation.

    She was released from police custody on $5,050 bail.

    A relative who answered the phone at her Weymouth home hung up on a reporter and no one answered her door.
    Everybody counts or no one counts.
    -Harry Bosch



    Some of you may remember that in my early days I was sort of a bleeding heart liberal. Then I became a man and put away childish things.
    -Ronald Reagan

  • #2

    The "moth effect" must really be amplified with the blue lights. It draws them right in.

    The comments above reflect my personal opinion as a private citizen, ordinary motorist and all-around good guy.

    The aforementioned advice should not be construed to represent any type of professional opinion, legal counsel or other type of instruction with regard to traffic laws, judicial proceedings or official agency policy.

    ------------------------------------------------

    "Ignorance on fire is hotter than knowledge on ice."

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by VA Dutch View Post

      The "moth effect" must really be amplified with the blue lights. It draws them right in.
      I tend to think the same thing. However, many of these crashes have happened when the troopers have had their emergency lights off. For example, the crash described in this article happened when a trooper was just driving along on routine patrol and was hit head on by a wrong-way drunk driver.

      We have A LOT of problems with drunk driving in Massachusetts. I mean, just look at the article. This woman hit a trooper head on after being drunk and she was let out on bail. The drunk driving laws up here are terrible.
      Everybody counts or no one counts.
      -Harry Bosch



      Some of you may remember that in my early days I was sort of a bleeding heart liberal. Then I became a man and put away childish things.
      -Ronald Reagan

      Comment


      • #4
        Hopefully, MA traffic laws have the authority to seize vehicles involved in DUI / DWI / OWI, and ALL MA LEO/PO use that power when investigating such offenders. MAYBE that will cause "clients" to re-consider driving after doing ANY consumption of alcohol (beverage or otherwise - nothing says class like rubbing alcohol and 7-Up!)
        #32936 - Royal Canadian Mounted Police - 1975-10-27 / 2010-12-29
        Proud Dad of #54266 - RCMP - 2007-02-12 to date
        RCMP Veterans Association - Regina Division member
        Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada - Associate (Retired) member
        "Smile" - no!

        Comment


        • #5
          Why can't the MA drunks just stick with the tried and true "drive off the bridge" method?
          Lt. Col. Grace - "Lt. Murphey, why are you all dressed up to mack on the ladies?"
          Me - "Sir, you just answered your own question."

          Comment


          • #6

            You know what? I actually considered making that comment last night and invoking the name of a certain late senator from that state, but chose not to. Now I think I should have chimed in.


            I still think I would have rather gone hunting with Dick Cheney than driving with Ted Kennedy.


            The comments above reflect my personal opinion as a private citizen, ordinary motorist and all-around good guy.

            The aforementioned advice should not be construed to represent any type of professional opinion, legal counsel or other type of instruction with regard to traffic laws, judicial proceedings or official agency policy.

            ------------------------------------------------

            "Ignorance on fire is hotter than knowledge on ice."

            Comment


            • #7
              I can see it now. The state is going to claim that the paint scheme of the squad cars attracts drunks. They will pay for a blue ribbon committee to investigate it and pay more to repaint the squads while cutting trooper pay.
              God made perfect cops.......The rest he put in cars.

              Comment


              • #8
                Do what the NYPD does, seize the cars of convicted drunk drivers.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Yep, MSP do away with the grey and blue EQ's, and adopt the UK colors of White and "Hunter" Orange...

                  While you're at it, do the same with your uniforms so we can spot you running handheld radar while hiding behind a bridge abutment on I-91 south...
                  "Two wrongs don't make a right, but three rights make a left..."
                  "I swear to God, I'm gonna pistol whip the next guy who says 'Shenanigans' !"

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Question, has the number of traffic stops increased? I guess what I'm asking is are the numbers going up as a result of more officers on the side of the road, or just going up?
                    The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground." - Thomas Jefferson

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Here's a sampling of some of the crashes this year:









                      Everybody counts or no one counts.
                      -Harry Bosch



                      Some of you may remember that in my early days I was sort of a bleeding heart liberal. Then I became a man and put away childish things.
                      -Ronald Reagan

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        45 times is not a trend, it's an epidemic. What BS something hasn't been done by the legislature yet.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Never mind... found the answer to my own question. Pull overs on some roads is much higher, over 800% on the turnpike alone.
                          The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and government to gain ground." - Thomas Jefferson

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by eyesopen View Post
                            Never mind... found the answer to my own question. Pull overs on some roads is much higher, over 800% on the turnpike alone.
                            What???
                            I make my living on Irish welfare.

                            Comment

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