Mass. State Trooper eulogized as family man, good colleague; Thousands attend funeral

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HUDSON, Mass. -- The Massachusetts state trooper killed in a crash last week was remembered by a former colleague as a dedicated family man and "the glue that kept us together" at work.

Retired Sgt. Albert Toney said Tuesday in his eulogy for Trooper Thomas Clardy that the years he spent with Clardy when they were assigned to the Sturbridge barracks were "the best five years of my career."

Toney read messages from Clardy's children. They remember their father for his sense of humor, the fact he always had time for them, and for letting them stay up late to watch a college football bowl game.

The 44-year-old former Marine and father of seven died of injuries suffered on March 16, when a car struck his cruiser as he was stopping another vehicle on the Massachusetts Turnpike.

 

Thousands of police officers from around the U.S. attended the funeral in his central Massachusetts hometown of Hudson. State police officials said as many as 10,000 uniformed officers from across the country were expected to attend services at St. Michael Parish.

Members of Connecticut State Police attended Tuesday's services.

"Here is a trooper on the side of the road, doing his job just like we do on a day-to-day basis and something tragic happens so when we go to these things, it's a reminder to us that we are as vulnerable as anyone when we are out there on the road," said Lt. Robert Palmer of the Connecticut State Police. "It's an opportunity for us to go up there and show solidarity and grieve with them and show respect back to his family for their loss."

 

Clardy had stopped a car for a traffic violation in Charlton on March 16 when his cruiser was hit by another vehicle. Investigators say the car had swerved across all three travel lanes without slowing down.

The driver of that car, 30-year-old David Njuguna, of Webster, remains hospitalized with serious injuries. He faces a charge of negligent operation of a motor vehicle and a marked lane violation.

More than 1,100 officers paid respects to Trooper Thomas Clardy at his wake Monday. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker was among those who turned out.

Residents put up blue ribbons in Clardy's honor. Highway message boards around Massachusetts read: "Rest in peace, Trooper Thomas Clardy."

Earlier this month, Connecticut State Police held a two-week campaign focusing on the move over law. The law requires drivers to slow down or move over, if they can do it safely, anytime police, fire, EMS or other safety vehicles are on the side of the highway.