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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.

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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