WORCESTER (WHDH) - The alleged driver of a vehicle that struck and killed a State Police trooper has been charged with manslaughter and motor vehicle homicide.
David Njuguna, 30 of Webster, appeared in court in Worcester on Wednesday. He pleaded not guilty on all charges, which included operating to endanger. Njuguna was held on $500,000 bail and is due back in court on June 30. If he secures bail, he will be subject to GPS monitoring and will have to surrender his passport.
Trooper Thomas Clardy, 44, was struck by a car while he was conducting a traffic stop in the breakdown lane in March. Officials said Clardy stopped a vehicle for a traffic violation, walked up to the car to get information and then returned to his vehicle to process the stop.
A Nissan Maxima was traveling in the left lane at what witnesses said appeared to be a high rate of speed. For unknown reasons, the car struck the trooper’s cruiser while the trooper was inside.
Officials said responding troopers found Clardy inside the car with traumatic injuries and administered medical assistance. Clardy was transported by medical helicopter to UMass Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. Njuguna was taken via medical helicopter to the hospital with serious injuries.
Njuguna’s license was suspended and revoked because police believe he poses an “immediate threat.” His attorney said that Njuguna does not remember anything about the car crash.
Officials say Njuguna had a medical marijuana card, four marijuana cigarettes in his possession, and “had a THC level within his blood.” It’s also alleged that Njuguna had visited a medical marijuana dispensary within an hour of the crash, where he purchased the cigarettes.
Officials say they do not have any evidence that the crash that killed Trooper Clardy was intentional.
Clardy was a United States Marine Corps veteran. He joined the State Police in April 2005. He then worked out of the Northampton and Sturbridge Barracks, and then for the Troop C Community Action Team. He was assigned to the Charlton Barracks in November 2012.
According to Colonel Richard McKeon, Clardy was well-liked by his colleagues and “had a reputation as a hard worker, a good trooper and a great man.” Clardy is survived by his wife Reisa and the couple’s six children, who range in age from 4 to 17.
“We will never be able to fill the hole that is left in their lives from this day forward, but they will always be part of our State Police family,” McKeon said. “We will forever hold them tight to our hearts, for the rest of their lives.”
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