It is with great sadness that we pass along that State Police Sergeant Doug Weddleton was killed this morning at approx. 1:20 am by what appears to be a drunk driver. Sgt. Weddleton was a 52 year old, 28 year veteran of the State Police, husband, and father of 4 who was working a detail on I-95 when he was struck and killed.
From Boston.com:” ATTLEBORO – The Hyde Park man who was allegedly driving drunk when his truck slammed into a State trooper, killing him, told police he was driving 65 miles an hour as he entered an exit ramp in Mansfield early today, a prosecutor said in court.
Anthony Perry, 45, pleaded not guilty in Attleboro District Court today to charges of negligent motor vehicle homicide, operating under the influence, negligent operation, speeding, and a violation of the move-over law. Bail was set at $10,000 cash.
Perry, according to Bristol County prosecutors and State police, was the second vehicle involved a chain-reaction crash that killed Sergeant Doug Weddleton, 52, who was working a road construction detail on Interstate 95 northbound near the exit to Interstate 495.
The driver of the other vehicle, Kenneth Weiand, 43, of Walpole, was ordered held pending a mental health evaluation after Judge Daniel O’Shea was told Weiand was making suicidal statements, punching the walls and slamming his head into walls while awaiting to be arraigned today.
Not guilty pleas were entered on Weiand’s behalf to charges of operating under the influence of alcohol. Prosecutors said a chemical breath test administered after the crash showed Weiand had a blood alcohol level of .20, well above the state limit of .08.
Earlier today outside the State police barracks in Foxborough, Colonel Marian McGovern, the State Police commander, described Weddleton, 52, as a dedicated trooper, a devoted husband and proud father of four children.
“He was a dedicated police officer and even more so a devoted and loving husband and a doting father to his four boys of whom he was extremely proud,” McGovern said.
McGovern said that Weddleton had placed his cruiser with its blue lights flashing, blocking a ramp from Interstate 95 to Interstate 495 when a car tried to get around him onto the ramp.
Weddleton, wearing a yellow safety vest, got out of his cruiser to stop the car when a pickup truck slammed the car from behind, pushing the car forward into him and fatally injuring him.
A fellow trooper at the construction site ran to Weddleton’s aid after the crash. Weddleton was then transported to Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro, where he was pronounced dead.
McGovern said that Weddleton, in blocking the ramp, had prevented construction workers from potentially suffering serious injuries from the cars.
In court today, Bristol County Assistant District Attorney Derek J. Coyne told the judge Perry told police after the crash that he did not see anyone ahead of him as he drove his F-150 pickup onto the closed exit ramp.
He also told police he was driving at 65 miles an hour and that he had been drinking at a Rhode Island bar before the crash. Perry allegedly told police he had three beers and one mixed drink, called sex on the beach, at the club.
But Perry’s defense attorney Robert J. Galibois, said Perry’s breath chemical test registered .07 – below the level necessary to file drunk driving charges.
“This is a misdemeanor case. The only thing that elevates this to a felony is an OUI (operating under the influence),” said Galibois, who said Perry was a union carpenter without any prior criminal convictions.”And the OUI will not survive.”
Prosecutors said the OUI charge against Perry was based on his actions at the scene when eh failed field sobriety tests. His eyes were glassy and red and his had trouble maintaining his balance.”
Words don’t describe what his family is likely going through right now. Our prayers and thoughts go out to them tonight.
Attorney Ronald A. Sellon