CHARLTON (CBS) — Flags across Massachusetts are flying at half-staff Thursday in honor of State Trooper Thomas Clardy who was killed in the line of duty.
Clardy had stopped a Chevy Tahoe on the Massachusetts Turnpike in Charlton Wednesday afternoon when he was struck and killed by a Nissan Maxima.
Clardy, who was in his SUV at the time of the crash, was rushed to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester where he died.
The Nissan driver, 30-year-old David Njuguna of Webster, is still at UMass Memorial with serious injuries.
He's charged with negligent operation of a motor vehicle and failure to stay within marked lanes at this point in the investigation.
Njuguna's driving record includes an accident in 2012 and a suspended license for refusing to take a breathalyzer test in 2013. His license was revoked after the crash Wednesday.
It's not clear yet what caused him to swerve across three lanes of the highway before hitting the trooper's SUV.
A relative who visited him in the hospital told WBZ-TV Thursday Njuguna doesn't have any memory of what happened and that he blacked out.
Njuguna's family released this statement:
"The family would like to send a message of condolence and deepest sympathies to the family of the fallen Massachusetts State Trooper. The family is devastated by the death of the dedicated trooper and proud father who lost his life in the effort of making all of us safe. His family is in our prayers."
Clardy was a Marine and a married father of seven children - six with his wife and another from a previous relationship. He was 44 years old.
Clardy joined the Massachusetts State Police in 2005. He lived in Hudson with his family.
"It's a shock because there's a lot of young children," neighbor Tom Walsh told WBZ. "They had just settled into the home, he was a hard working dedicated father. He was a father 100 percent."
This is the 42nd line of duty death in the history of the Massachusetts State Police.
"In this difficult time, we have been touched by the show of support, from everywhere from our own backyard to the other side of our country and many places in between. Please keep the Clardy family in your prayers," the State Police posted on their Facebook page Thursday.
Police, firefighters, and civilians lined the street in Hudson and pay their respects as a motorcade carrying Clardy's body arrived at a funeral home Thursday afternoon.
Digital billboards honoring Trooper Clardy were visible on several state highways, including I-93, Route 495, and the Massachusetts Turnpike.
Funeral arrangements are still being finalized.
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