Police: Driver Was High Before Crash That Killed Massachusetts State Trooper

30-year-old David Njuguna pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges in connection with the March 16 crash

A man involved in the car crash death of a Massachusetts State Police trooper pleaded not guilty to various charges Wednesday afternoon.

Thirty-year-old David Njuguna of Webster was previously charged with negligent driving and cited with failing to stay within marked lanes and speeding. He faced a judge on new charges, including manslaughter, around 4 p.m.

Njuguna repeated "not guilty" six times in court.

After Njuguna's court appearance, Worcester D.A. Joseph Early and State Police Col. Richard McKeon provided an update in the investigation into the death of Trooper Thomas Clardy.

Clardy was killed March 16 in a car crash, and Njuguna was hospitalized from sustained injuries.

In court, prosecutors said Njuguna was suspected of using marijuana before driving that day - he had picked up four joints from a medical marijuana clinic an hour before the crash.

"He absolutely denies that he was under the influence of any drugs," said defense attorney Peter Ettenberg.

Clardy left behind a wife and six children.

Njuguna is being held on $500,000 bail. It's unclear when his next court date is, or who is representing him.

Massachusetts State Police continue to mourn Clardy's death and empathize with his family.

Col. Richard McKeon was emotional while speaking to the media, but he explained that did not play into the department's investigation.

"This is the result of evidence," he said. "Not emotion."

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