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State police probe crash in which Massena trooper allegedly ran red light

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MASSENA — A crash last week in which a state police SUV ran a red light and struck a civilian vehicle is the subject of an administrative investigation, troopers said Friday.

State Police Lt. Kevin J. Boyea confirmed that the investigation involves an incident in which Massena-based Trooper Jonathan White, 33, struck a car driven by Richard Martin, 18, of Norfolk, at about 8:45 p.m. March 15 on Route 37 in Massena.

Lt. Boyea said that Mr. White was on duty at the time of the crash, but said he could not discuss any other details of the incident other than to say that no injuries were reported.

In an email to Johnson Newspapers, Mr. Martin wrote that he was eastbound on Route 37 and “had the green arrow to turn northbound onto Main Street.”

As he was making the left turn, Mr. Martin wrote, the trooper drove westbound through a red light and struck his car. “Trooper White did not have any sirens, emergency lights or anything on,” Mr. Martin wrote, adding that the trooper “stated that he saw the green arrow and kept driving.”

It is not common to ticket troopers who are involved in accidents, Lt. Boyea said. Depending on the investigation’s findings, Mr. White “may or may not” be subject to disciplinary action, the lieutenant said.

The investigation and its outcome are personnel matters and would not be made public, he added.

In a brief telephone interview Friday, Mr. Martin said he recalled seeing one state police vehicle do a U-turn at a traffic light, with another following. He said he saw the headlights of the second vehicle briefly before it struck him.

Mr. Martin said he did not report any injuries at the time, but has since been treated twice for hip and chest contusions as well as neck and back sprains.

Mr. Martin questioned why the incident was not made public.

A March 16 blotter entry on the state police website described a property damage accident at 8:44 p.m. in the village of Massena, with the incident status “pending investigation.”

Lt. Boyea reiterated that no injuries were reported at the time of the crash. He said the names initially may have been withheld from the blotter while the case was under investigation.

The March 16 blotter for Troop B’s zone 2, which covers St. Lawrence County, includes several other property-damage accidents; some contain drivers’ names while others do not.

While he did not have statistics immediately at hand, Lt. Boyea said crashes involving state police vehicles “happen infrequently,” given the “enormous number of miles” that troopers drive each year.

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