A veteran Connecticut state trooper was killed early Thursday morning when his cruiser was swept away amid heavy flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ida.
The trooper, a sergeant with 26 years of service in the department, was working a midnight shift in Woodbury when he radioed for help.
“At 3:30, approximately, in the morning, Troop L received an emergency call from the sergeant that his vehicle was in swift water and that he was in distress,” Connecticut State Police Col. Stavros Mellekas, the agency’s commanding officer, said at a press briefing.
“That was the last they heard of him,” he said at the briefing.
Mellekas said the troopers pinged the sergeant’s phone to locate him but were unable to find the cruiser.
“We sent all assets right away with the fire departments and dive teams — anyone you can imagine,” Mellekas told reporters.
When the floodwaters began to subside at daybreak, police began a search of the area, including from the air with police choppers, and located the vehicle “mostly submerged” near Jack’s Bridge — but there was no sign of the missing sergeant.
“About an hour after that, continuing our search, the sergeant was located in the water of the river,” Mellekas said.
He was treated at the scene and transported to Yale-New Haven Hospital.
“En route, he was presumed dead and confirmed upon arrival at New Haven,” he said.
The trooper’s name was not released pending family notifications.
It was the 25th line-of-duty death in the history of the Connecticut state police.
“A trooper, 26 years, has given his life for a greater good,” Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont said. “I was telling everybody, ‘Stay safe, stay home. Let’s ride out this storm.’ That’s not what you do as a trooper.”