A Connecticut state trooper who was involved in a September crash in Southbury that injured a mother and daughter has been charged with DUI and other violations, Connecticut State Police said Tuesday.
Sgt. John McDonald, 37, was charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and drugs, second-degree assault with a motor vehicle, reckless driving and failure to obey a stop sign.
Police said McDonald was off-duty in his unmarked police car when he didn’t stop at a stop sign on September 25, crashing into a car traveling on Route 188. According to the arrest warrant, McDonald was driving 71 mph just before the crash. The posted speed limit in the area is 40 mph.
Witnesses to the crash described McDonald as "slurring his words" and smelling of alcohol, according to the warrant. McDonald never took a blood alcohol test.
When asked why McDonald was never tested at a press conference Tuesday, police said when there are possible injuries protocol is to take crash victims to the hospital, which they did. Police said McDonald then left the hospital against medical advice and before investigators got there.
According to the arrest warrant, a nurse did note that McDonald walked out with a steady gait accompanied by friends, and in ambulance dispatch records, under the listed category of alcohol, there's a notation of "none" documented next to it. Investigators said video has been obtained from the hospital and will be part of the investigation.
Before the crash, McDonald was at the Black Hog Brewing Company in Oxford, according to the warrant. Based on surveillance footage, investigators believe McDonald drank at least eight alcoholic drinks between 2:19 p.m. and 5:13 p.m. He is later seen ordering more drinks and bringing them outside, where he cannot be seen by surveillance.
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The two women injured in the crash have filed a lawsuit against McDonald and Black Hog Brewing Company.
McDonald had already been suspended administratively, which means his police powers have been stripped but he is still receiving pay. His police identification and firearm have been taken. He has been with the department for 13 years.
An internal affairs investigation is underway and the criminal investigation continues.
McDonald was released on a promise to appear and is scheduled to appear in court on December 2.
It's unclear if McDonald has a lawyer.