Trooper struck on highway

Monday, July 5, 2010

State police recovered a shorn-off sideview mirror and scraped flecks of car paint off the utility belt of a trooper they say narrowly missed being killed yesterday morning by a hit-and-run driver.

A manhunt was on last night to locate the coward, and state police – who last month buried a sergeant struck and killed by an allegedly drunken driver – were imploring the public to be vigilant in auto-body shops and to even check their neighbors’ driveways for a damaged silver or gray sedan.

“There will be damage on the passenger side,” department spokesman David Procopio said. “We were fortunate this morning this wasn’t more serious. There but for the grace of God.

“It’s a safe estimate that at least once a month a trooper is struck in the roadway,” he said. “The severity of the injuries ranges from very, very minor to the worst imaginable and everything in between.”

Trooper Sean McGarry, 32, a newly married, five-year veteran of the Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Danvers barracks, was protecting a fellow officer questioning a motorist who’d been pulled over on Route 128 south in Peabody about 2 a.m. when he was sideswiped in the breakdown lane by a second car that then veered onto Route 1 and vanished.

McGarry was treated for a leg injury at Union Hospital in Lynn and released.

The driver is facing charges that include leaving the scene of an accident causing personal injury, failure to obey the move-over law and negligent driving, Procopio said.

McGarry was hit while providing backup to trooper Joseph Keefe, who had stopped a 2004 Infiniti G35 driven by Frank J. Imbruglia, 25, of East Boston for swerving into the breakdown lane.

Imbruglia is being held without bail pending his arraignment on the North Shore tomorrow on charges of driving with a suspended license, providing a false name to police, committing a marked-lanes violation and having three outstanding warrants for his arrest.

State police Sgt. Douglas Weddleton, 52, died last month at a construction detail on Interstate 95 in Attleboro when he was knocked down and crushed under a car he had pulled over, which was rear-ended by a second vehicle.

Last Monday, a Framingham man with a history of mental illness, Alejandro Serra, 29, led troopers on a high-speed chase on the Massachusetts Turnpike, during which he was accused of ramming cruisers and nearly running down a trooper at a Framingham rest stop.

Anyone with information about the Peabody crash or the missing sedan is asked to call the state police barracks in Danvers at 978-538-6161.