Police: Trooper was drunk, speeding at time of fatal crash

WOLCOTT, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut state trooper who died in an off-duty crash in February was drunk and speeding at the time and was solely at fault, the chief of the lead investigating agency said Monday.

Trooper Danielle Miller, 27, had a blood-alcohol content of .24, three times the legal limit to drive, when her Ford Crown Victoria cruiser collided head-on with a Ford pickup truck on Route 69 in Wolcott at about 9 p.m. on Feb. 3, Wolcott Chief Edward Stephens said.

She had been driving 79 mph just seconds before the crash, crossed into oncoming traffic, and was going 57 mph at the time of impact, Stephens said. The speed limit is 40 mph.

“We all make mistakes in life and unfortunately Trooper Miller made one that cost her her life,” he said.

The driver of the pickup, Aric Rivkin, 30, sustained minor injuries. Both were alone in their vehicles.

The investigation is closed and no criminal charges will be filed, although Miller would have faced charges had she survived, the chief said.

Stephens also emphasized that Rivkin did nothing wrong, was not impaired, but has been harassed so severely online and even been called a “cop killer,” that he has moved out of town.

A man who answered the phone at Rivkin’s chimney sweeping business said he wasn’t available for comment and wouldn’t take a message.

Coincidentally, Miller and Rivkin were acquainted, Stephens said, but had not seen each other the day of the crash.

State police said they were “saddened” by the results of the investigation.

“As an agency, we mourn Trooper Miller’s passing,” the department said in a statement. “We also maintain a zero tolerance policy with respect to operating a state vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Trooper Miller’s death serves as a painful reminder of the dangers and the devastating consequences of impaired driving.”

Miller graduated from the State Police Academy in 2014.

Miller was the first of two state troopers to die in traffic accidents in less than two months. Trooper 1st Class Kevin Miller died in an on-duty crash March 29 when his cruiser rear-ended a tractor-trailer on Interstate 84 in Tolland. Danielle Miller and Kevin Miller were not related.

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