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State Police Lt. Was Ill at Time of Crash, Officials Say

The state police trooper, who is a commander, was ill at the time he crashed into a utility pole on Toddy Hill Road.

A state police commander, whom officials said has a stellar service record, was ill at the time his , officials said.

"He lost control of his car and crashed," state police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance said Thursday, calling the incident an accident. "There was no underlying cause whatsoever."

Michael Hofbauer, 46, of Lakeside Road, Southbury, who according to a state police press release, was promoted to lieutenant in November, was driving his state police-issued unmarked Crown Victoria south on Toddy Hill Road at about 5:20 p.m., Aug. 31 when for some reason the vehicle crossed all travel lanes and crashed into a utility pole on the other side of street, Newtown police said in a news release.

The impact of the crash was enough to crack and tilt the utility pole.

No reason was given for the crash and Hofbauer was issued a verbal warning for failure to drive in a proper lane, Newtown police said in the news release. The Crown Victoria had to be towed from the scene and Connecticut Light & Power workers called to replace the pole and wire damage.

Hofbauer was ill at the time he was driving, had vomited earlier and "probably shouldn't have gone to work," Vance said.

"There was nothing inappropriate in this crash at all," Vance said. "This is a trooper who has a stellar record."

Hofbauer graduated from the state police academy in June 1990 and has served in various troops in Southbury, Bridgeport and Westbrook, according to the November press release announcing his promotion.

He also has served with the governor's security unit, the Western District Major Crime Squad and various other positions, including as the executive officer of Troop A in Southbury and at the state forensic laboratory in Meriden, according to the press release.

Residents in that section of Toddy Hill Road had recently regained power after losing electrical service following Tropical Storm Irene on Sunday. CL&P crews who were dispatched to the scene Wednesday eventually were able to make repairs to the utility damage.

DAY September 01, 2011 at 08:20 PM
Hmmmm. Very strange incident. Hope he's okay. Wonder what the "illness" was. Nice work, Hoa. Give yourself a raise.
Susan Joy September 01, 2011 at 08:38 PM
Hmm didn't it say he was in shorts? Are shorts the usual attire for State Police? It certainly didn't seem a time for a shift change? (The trooper, who was wearing shorts and appeared off duty, did not appear injured.) The state police comment was "probably shouldn't have gone to work," Vance said. this is the information presented in both articles. Must have been some misunderstanding?
DAY September 01, 2011 at 08:50 PM
I wish I had a graphic to go along with this sequence of events and official "explanations": Here it is, in all its reduced glory: 1) Man vomits, was ill, probably shouldn't have gone to work; 2) For some reason crossed all travel lanes and crashed into a utility pole on the other side of street; 3) impact of the crash was enough to crack and tilt the utility pole. 4) No reason given for the crash; 5) Nothing inappropriate in this crash. To quote Frank Drebben from Police Squad: Move along people. Nothing to see here. Is everyone following this?
Susan Joy September 01, 2011 at 09:23 PM
Hmm good sequence but left out the text from both articles that state different "facts" Hopefully people will realize that just because something is in print does not necessarily make it true, think there is some fautly thinking on the part of the State Police or the readers?
Janice Rossi September 02, 2011 at 12:13 AM
I heard people said he was drunk. Any confirmation?
Hoa Nguyen September 02, 2011 at 12:27 AM
The state police spokesman has said that was not the case. Newtown police did not charge him with that. Unless there is evidence, please refrain from making those statements.
Marc Michaud September 02, 2011 at 12:57 AM
WHAT IF?? We could also speculate along these lines: What if the officer had been working long hours because of the storm and really was sick? So sick that he lost his lunch all over his uniform and only had his workout clothes to change into? What if he had another bout of nausea which contributed to the accident and caused him to appear under the influence to a potentially biased outside observer who was standing some distance away? Now I have no idea if any of the above has anything to do with the truth. Which brings me to my point: how easy is it to rip someone apart from the safety of your keyboard, particularly if you won’t even use your name while making up your speculative story?
Janice Rossi September 02, 2011 at 01:13 AM
I'm just repeating what others previously said. I just want the facts
Jeff September 02, 2011 at 02:05 AM
Was Shirley involved?
Susan Joy September 02, 2011 at 02:11 AM
Those are good predictions and may certainly be true. However, I think all but one person uses their own name so I do not think people who have commented are hiding behind anything. I am just wondering if a citizen was nausea and totally destroyed a telephone pole would be treated the same way? I am sure there are many interpretations on this and I would be surprised if the State Police will make any other comments on the incident. It was interesting that the state police brought up his many accomplishments. Wonder why this was included in the second article?
Fear_or_Favor September 02, 2011 at 02:29 AM
Sometimes illnesses strike suddenly, whatever your attire.
Fear_or_Favor September 02, 2011 at 02:32 AM
NOT drunk.
Fear_or_Favor September 02, 2011 at 02:37 AM
Verbal warning for 14-236? Isn't DRIVER ILLNESS one of the contributing factors on the accident report?
Hoa Nguyen September 02, 2011 at 02:45 AM
This second article was written after the state police lieutenant's name was released, at which time a Google search turned up a press release the state police issued in November when this officer was promoted. That information was then included in this article, which was written by me and not state police. Anyone who saw the accident or what happened afterward and would like to speak to me about their observations, I can be reached at hoa@patch.com or 203-816-7613.
DAY September 02, 2011 at 05:28 AM
All but 2 people use their own names; there is one other person beside myself posting with anonymity.
Bob September 02, 2011 at 03:11 PM
Did he get a ticket? I know if I crashed a car and took out a telephone pole whether I was sick or not, I would be charged for the damage and I would get a ticket. If nothing else, his insurance should go up for the crash and it shouldnt be on the town.
Richard Hilton September 02, 2011 at 03:21 PM
everybody has a "stellar record" until they don't. welcome to "don't", officer hofbauer. i'm betting he fell asleep. "issued a warning" indeed - if it was me, i'd be led away in handcuffs.
Jeff September 02, 2011 at 07:32 PM
Usually...usually when a police officer has a legitimate accident in an attempt to "Avoid an appearance of impropriety" & show transparency they go through the whole process so they can say nothing was amiss. OR: 1. Officer who has not been drinking or sending text messages is fully investigated, field sobriety test are given, breathalyzer or even better a blood test; the gold standard for B.A.C. When the test come back negative they parade them about the press to show that officer Cooter was on the up & up. 2. A release of phone records showing no activity. No mention of that here, just the blue wall of silence talking up his credibility...which in my eyes is not worth a bucket of SPIT! He was driving a 3000+ Lb vehicle, had a G.I. moment (which who amongst us hasn't, & FELT IT coming on?), & pitches it into a utility pole on the LEFT side of the road? I may have been born at night but it wasn't last night! He could have killed somebody as he crossed the center line, & traveled across the oncoming lane. Why is it relevant that we hear his accomplishments? Governor's security detail? Big deal! In New York state it was the Governor's security detail who was covering for Elliot Spitzer when he was paying for pus...prostitutes. When was the last time you heard of a Governor's security detail anywhere in the United States doing anything that involved actually protecting a Governor from harm? I suggest state police spokesman Lt. Paul Vance is doing what he is paid to do: P.R.
Jeff September 02, 2011 at 07:41 PM
I ran out of space, (character limit). To all just remember this event and request that the same courtesy be extended to you should you find yourself to have a similar unfortunate occurrence. I know police officers are people too & capleable of making the same mistakes as the rest of society. Just cant stand how they stick it to people for doing the same things that they themselves do. Remember these are the people who pay their salary. Go after real crime. I think it would be a good idea if all municipal police officers rotated through some of the 5 largest cities in the state. When they got back to their home location they would have a greater appreciation for the people who pay them.
Susan Joy September 02, 2011 at 11:31 PM
Are state troopers allowed to use their car for personal business? If he was seen at Stop n' Shop by another person then he went there for something for his stomach??? Somehow there is something amiss here with the facts as present or maybe it is just editing of facts, just telling the public what they want the public to hear??
Hoa Nguyen September 03, 2011 at 12:42 PM
Here's another follow-up: http://newtown.patch.com/articles/kehoe-stands-by-response-to-state-police-crash
Sharon Emerson September 06, 2011 at 04:24 AM
Um, if he was ill, that would be considered an underlying cause. Your article first stated that there was absolutelly no underlying cause then went on to say he was ill. Sloopy journalism, at best. His illnes was obviously an underlying cause. If, in fact, that was the case. Sounds like a cover-up to me.
yoda September 06, 2011 at 10:07 AM
Sharon, no underlying of illegal substance, if you understood law you would know this. no sloppy work you just don't understand the law.

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