It was a solemn tribute to a tremendous life cut tragically short.
Friday marked two years since Massachusetts State Police Trooper Thomas Clardy was killed in the line of duty when his cruiser was struck during a traffic stop on the Massachusetts Turnpike in Charlton by an alleged drugged driver. He was just 44 years old.
Investigators say the driver, David Njuguna, 30, of Webster, swerved across all three travel lanes before the collision. He pleaded not guilty and is scheduled to go on trial next month.
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"I spent a lot of time over the last two years wishing I had talked a little longer about something, anything," state police Charlton barracks Commander Lt. Michael Smith said. "I can’t help think that if I had, it might have changed the course of events that day.”
But instead of dwelling on what cannot be changed, Clardy’s co-workers, family and friends gathered Friday to dedicate the Route 49 bridge over the Mass Pike in Charlton in his honor, to rename the road to the Charlton barracks where he worked as “Clardy Pass” and to unveil a memorial in his memory.
"It will serve as an inspiration for everyone who travels through this area and as a reminder of the spirit of Trooper Clardy," Massachusetts Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver said.
"All of us would hope we could live up to the wonderful example of service and commitment to his country, to his Commonwealth, to his community and to his family that he represents," Gov. Charlie Baker added.
Clardy’s friend and commander said the husband and father of seven would have been honored by all of this.
"He’d be humbled by it. He was a big man, he was a big, strong man, but he was a very gentle soul," Lt. Smith said. "I think he’d be a little embarrassed and a little humbled by it.”