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Kehoe Stands By Response to State Police Crash

Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe says he is satisfied his officers were appropriate in their investigation of a state police lieutenant who crashed his vehicle.

Newtown Police Chief Michael Kehoe stands behind his department's investigation of a on Toddy Hill Road this week.

"I was pretty comfortable with how our guys investigated it," Kehoe said Friday of the crash, which involved a state police lieutenant driving on a town road Weds., Aug. 31.

State police Lt. Michael Hofbauer, 46, a commander in the Southbury barracks, was traveling south near 25 Toddy Hill Road when he crossed the travel lanes and crashed into a utility pole on the other side of the street at about 5:20 p.m.

The crash knocked out power in the neighborhood for the second time in a week. The first time was as a result of Tropical Storm Irene.

State police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance said Hofbauer was ill at the time of the crash, and even had vomited earlier.

"There was no underlying cause whatsoever," Patch.

Vance also said Thursday that Hofbauer was not on patrol at the time and given the time of day was likely on duty or headed to duty. Hofbauer was spotted in shorts more than an hour or so after the crash.

Kehoe said Friday he was comfortable that Hofbauer was treated like others motorists and not given special treatment by Newtown officers. For instance, Kehoe said Newtown police cited Hofbauer for causing the accident – although the verbal warning issued – for failure to drive in a proper lane – is the least serious citation that could have been given.

The chief said the chioce of a verbal warning was at the discretion of the officers at the scene, and that it may have been because the cause of the crash may have been "well-explained," citing the possible medical condition.

Kehoe said if there was a hint Hofbauer was driving under the influence, Newtown police officers would have issued him a sobriety test and possibly charge him just as they do in other cases.

"We are always looking for that at every accident scene," the chief said.

Kehoe said officers would have looked inside the vehicle to see if they could spot any signs of alcohol or a controlled substance.

"Certainly talk to the motorist and see if we can detect any driving under the influence," Kehoe said.

The chief said he was satisfied there was no evidence of drunk driving or other symptoms of impaired driving particularly because there were many different personnel at the scene, including two police sergeants and two police officers, Sandy Hook volunteer firefighters and a Newtown Volunteer ambulance crew.

Had any of the personnel who responded to the scene told Kehoe that Hofbauer appeared under the influence or if there was other evidence, would have investigated it further, the chief said.

Susan Joy September 03, 2011 at 06:26 PM
I will be sure to keep a copy of this article with me just in case it ever happens to me. Then all I will receive is a verbal warning to drive in the established lane too. I will also give it to my daughters to hold in case it also happens to them.
yoda September 03, 2011 at 07:11 PM
Susan I can asure if officer is in the wrong, they will be persecuted by there administration. Always keep in mind their are always two sides to a story and unless you are their to witness the whole event you really shouldn't comment.
Susan Joy September 04, 2011 at 12:07 AM
Somehow this entire incident is good to keep in mind when the "public" drives a large car fast enough to split a utility pole and with stories changing from news article to news article. . I am still amazed at all the story variations. Starts to sound like the children's books Choose Your Own Ending. Even if I was there, and I was not, there would be two sides to the story, Everyone sees things differently. The truth was already supplied by the State Police, It is up to us to decide what we are going to believe.
yoda September 04, 2011 at 11:06 AM
Susan how can you form a opinion off of one side? You get all sides then,form an opinion To form an opinion off of one side is uneducated, please don't commit on a police officer if you don't get all the facts..
uc14 September 04, 2011 at 09:12 PM
if you begin to stop trusting the government then we might as well be an anarchist society. stop being paranoid and pessimistic; you're forming opinions against all the given evidence for no reason other than distrust. if such a distrust exists then we might as well abolish all forms of structure and leadership in this country because all is void in its original purpose, which is to serve you, the taxpayer. i don't see why it's so hard to believe someone could have been sick and crashed a car. much wilder things have happened in this world and to focus on some insignificant accident as a source to justify your malcontent is just disturbing.
yoda September 04, 2011 at 11:43 PM
uc14, the force is growing strong within you,i can feel it.
Sharon Emerson September 06, 2011 at 04:37 AM
Again, the powers that be cite absolutely no underlying cause for the crash then in the next breath cite a possible medical condition contributing to the crash. That would be an underlying cause. Does no one get this?????
Bob September 06, 2011 at 11:42 AM
No matter what the cause was, he should have gotten a ticket. I crashed my car in a snow storm without causing any damage (besides my own car) and did not endanger anyone esle by crossing lanes and I certainly did not cause a power outage, yet I get a ticket for driving too fast in adverse conditions (I was still under the speed limit). Now, I realize this was my fault, but isnt it also his? The verbal warning to me is the part that is unfair.
Tom Bittman September 06, 2011 at 12:06 PM
I don't understand the guidelines for verbal warnings. My daughter was driving my teenaged son home one day. They were stopped in a line of traffic on 34 (the car at the front was waiting to turn left). Stopped as in not moving. An Econoline van smashed into the back of my daughter's car so hard that the car was initially totaled (a second appraisal saved us from that). The kids were OK, but very scared. The van driver got a verbal warning. A verbal warning. I'm sure the van driver was texting or on his phone or something. I came very, very close to driving to the police station to complain. Thank God my kids are OK, and I hope a "verbal warning" was enough to keep that driver from killing someone.
yoda September 06, 2011 at 12:52 PM
Bob, How do you know that he didn't get a ticket?
yoda September 06, 2011 at 12:58 PM
Tom, The problems was their was no proof of his action, had there been a camera viewing what the man was doing prior, I'm sure the consequences would have been larger.
Swami September 06, 2011 at 01:56 PM
If I recall correctly, the Bee reported on at least 4 rear-end collisions last week, and all these drivers (the ones doing the ramming) were only given a verbal warning. Does someone need to be killed or seriously injured before tickets are issued? ps: I'm sure that some SERIOUS enforcement of cell phone use would reduce the number of these accidents.
yoda September 06, 2011 at 03:15 PM
Sully, you have to prove it, beyond a reasonable doubt thus probable cause? A ticket is a en fraction, its a form of an arrest. I don't disagree with you but the police have to see it with there own eyes or see it on camera with there own eyes.
Jeff September 06, 2011 at 05:33 PM
Of course Mr. Kehoe stands by this investigation. He has no other choice. He says this because based on the facts before him he has to go with what he knows. Should the facts turn out to be something different guess who's hands are clean? Kehoe's! He was not there, he could only decide things based upon the facts as presented to him. Assuming the trooper was under the influence, the responding officers on the scene wanted nothing to do with making a decision to arrest a trooper. To cover their tush they pushed it up to the supervisor. They can now say that they were not in command, or so they think. The person who signed the report is the one in jeopardy. How common is it that 2 sergeants show up at what is a simple 1 car accident? Perhaps Hoa should request a review of all the radio transmissions regarding this "accident". I assure you the last thing the Newtown Police Department wants at this time in their history is a war with the state police for not extending a professional courtesy. Sadly the Newtown P.D. is not exactly a "department of record". It has a long & tarnished history. Simple poll: Reply to this with a "yes" if you believe the facts as presented, OR "no" if you think there was a cover-up.
Jeff September 06, 2011 at 05:54 PM
NO - Let me be the first to weigh in here. To those who think the police do not cover for their own read this. I wish I was making this up. Yes it happened in Windsor, Guess what? It happens every day in every town. I would love to depose all officers involved with this "investigation" of the troopers accident. http://windsorlocks.patch.com/articles/the-fallout-from-the-accident-is-still-pending
yoda September 06, 2011 at 08:00 PM
You were not talking about other dept you were talking about Newtown police officers,and that I will call anyone on. Jeff please go sit behind your desk and allow the boys to protect you.
Janice Rossi September 06, 2011 at 08:39 PM
Crash into a poll on the other side of the street and destroy the poll = warning Drive 42 in a 35 going down hill past Fairfield Hills = ticket Make sense?
Mike Kelley September 06, 2011 at 09:16 PM
I thought the speed limit on Waserman Way was 30.Could be wrong. I know it is 25 in front of the school.
Mike Kelley September 07, 2011 at 01:47 AM
Ms. Rossi Checked the signs on Wasserman Way tonight on the way home from my office. 8 of them from Main street all the way to Berkshire Road and all say 30 MPH, not 35 MPH. 12 miles over the limit may be a ticket indeed. More important now that school is back in session.
Bob September 08, 2011 at 11:34 AM
yoda, It said he got a verbal warning, so Im assuming no ticket if its a warning.
Sharon Emerson September 08, 2011 at 11:03 PM
Bob: Cause is important. If there was an underlying medical issue, i.e., stroke, heart attack, seizure for example, that contributed to the crash, then a ticket is not warranted. This does not appear to be the case in this instance. That you received a ticket for crashing your car in a snowstorm, injuring no one but your own car while driving under the speed limit seems a bit excessive to me. Is there a statute/law that spells out exactly what is excessive speed in adverse conditions?

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