A Connecticut State Police trooper remains in stable condition at a local hospital after being hit by a motor vehicle while helping another motorist on Interstate 91 in Hartford on Thursday night.
Trooper Michael Quagliaroli suffered serious head injuries when he was hit on the northbound side of I-91 north near Exit 33 in Hartford.
Around 7:20 p.m., Quagliaroli, who is based out of Troop H, and another driver had been trying to clear some debris from the highway when he was hit. The other driver was also hit, but his injuries weren't as serious, according to state police.
Quagliaroli, who is a Windsor Locks High School graduate, underwent surgery at Hartford Hospital on Thursday night, but he is expected to be OK.
"He suffered multiple injuries. He was admitted to the hospital," said Lt. J. Paul Vance of the Connecticut State Police. "He has gone through tests and he's already had surgery."
The driver with the trooper was taken to St. Francis Hospital and was listed in stable condition. That driver was released from the hospital on Friday.
State police said Quagliaroli, on the force for only eight months, saw a plastic bedliner from a pickup truck in the center lane. With a driver, they tried to remove it.
The trooper used his cruiser to try and set up a road block so he could help the driver. That's when another driver went around the cruiser and struck them both.
A preliminary accident investigation determined that Quagliaroli had stopped his vehicle with emergency lights.
"The trooper parked his car in the travel portion of the highway, illuminated all the emergency lights to warn oncoming northbound traffic of his position in the roadway to slow down traffic," Vance said.
The incident remained under investigation. Police said they do not believe speed or alcohol were involved.
"It's a trooper's responsibility to ensure the safety of all motorists on all roads and highways in Connecticut," Vance said. "This trooper was in fact doing his duty, doing everything he could to get the debris out of the highway."
Eyewitness News was told that the driver of the car that hit the trooper has been cooperating. No charges were filed yet.
State police and investigators converged on the highway, not far from the Jennings Road exit, right after it happened.
Deborah Dupont was working at the New England Cycle Center when she saw the commotion just before 7:30 p.m.
"All of a sudden, traffic came to a complete halt and then we saw at least 50 state police cruisers come swarm the area and then we saw a tremendous amount of ambulances," she said. "So then we knew it was definitely something serious."
Anyone with information about what happened was asked to call state police at 860-534-1000.
Those who know Quagliaroli said they feel the same determination he had to become a state police trooper will also help his recovery.
Friends told Eyewitness News that Quagliaroli is a stellar athlete who served in the United States Air Force in Afghanistan.
His baseball coach at Windsor Locks High School, David Farr, said it was obvious Quagliaroli was meant to be a trooper.
"He was so happy to be a state trooper," Farr said "He was just so happy. This was his ambition. It took a while to get there. He was very proud of that."
"No surprise in him becoming a state trooper, very disciplined, regimented, just always on a perfect schedule," Tim Cooper, of Windsor Locks, said.
Cooper went to Windsor Locks High School with Quagliaroli and said he was well-liked and a great baseball player.
As a pitcher, Quagliaroli got a walk off hit to win the state championship in 2005. At the town ballpark, there is a brick commemorating that event.
"Sometimes being an athlete you have that drive and I think he does," Farr said. "He comes from a real great family and I think that will help him too. He will also get a lot of support from the town of Windsor Locks."
People wanting to send cards and letters to the trooper can make them out to the following address:
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