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Vermont state police trooper is killed
By Christopher Graff, Associated Press, 6/16/2003 08:15

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) State Police Sgt. Michael Johnson was killed Sunday when he was struck on the interstate by a car he was seeking to stop.

Johnson was struck just after he placed spike strips on Interstate 91 in Norwich to stop a vehicle being driven by Eric Daley, 23, who had fled a state police stop roughly five miles north on the interstate.

Daley swerved to miss the spikes and struck Johnson, said Sgt. Bruce Melendy early Monday.

''He actually swerved to miss the spike sticks and went through the median up into the crossover where Sergeant Johnson was trying to take cover,'' said Melendy. ''That's where his cruiser was parked.''

Troopers administered first aid to Johnson and he was taken to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., where he died at 4:46 p.m.

Daley, of Lebanon, N.H., fled on foot and was still at large early Monday morning, police said.

''Sergeant Michael Johnson of the Vermont State Police today made the ultimate sacrifice and gave his life in the line of duty,'' said Gov. James Douglas.

Johnson, 39, had been in the state police for about 16 years and was stationed in Bradford. He was married with three children, and was the first state police trooper killed in the line of duty in 11 years.

''We will mourn with his family and pray for them as they confront this tragedy,'' said Douglas, who said he would order state flags lowered to half-staff for three days in memory of Johnson.

Daley, driving a 1991 Nissan NX Coupe, had been stopped for speeding by Trooper Michael Smith at roughly 3:42 p.m. on the interstate in Thetford, WCAX-TV reported.

State police said he fled south until he came to the spikes Johnson had placed in the interstate.

''The Daley vehicle swerved into the median and through the crossover, striking Sgt. Johnson,'' said the state police news release. ''The Daley vehicle came to rest in the northbound lane of travel on Interstate 91.''

The last trooper to die in the line of duty was Sgt. Gary Gaboury, who drowned May 12, 1992 while attempting to retrieve the body of a college student from the Huntington Gorge in Richmond.

Johnson is survived by his wife Kerry, daughter Reilly, 12, and sons, Grady, 7, and McKendrick, 5.

State Police Capt. Glenn Cutting told WCAX-TV that the investigation has been difficult for the officers involved.

''We all knew the trooper involved here,'' he said. ''Again we're trying to focus on our work, do a good job on the scene of the investigation, basically cover all the bases and bring this person to justice.''
 

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Updated story... apparently BOLO for NH PC 177103...

-Mike

Suspect in state trooper death is seen in Springfield
By Lisa Rathke, Associated Press, 6/16/2003 18:53

NORWICH, Vt. (AP) Every available law enforcement officer in Vermont joined Monday in searching for the man believed responsible for the death of state police Sgt. Michael Johnson.

''This is one of the saddest and most somber times for the Vermont State Police,'' said Col. Thomas Powlovich, state police commander, who choked back tears as he detailed the first time in the half-century history of the state police that a trooper had been killed by someone else.

Johnson, 39, married and the father of three, died Sunday after he was struck on the interstate by a car believed to have been driven by Eric Daley, 23, of Lebanon, N.H., who was fleeing from an earlier police stop.

Monday's search centered around Norwich and the Springfield area, where Daley was seen Sunday night, and authorities were looking for a 1997 gray Toyota Camry with New Hampshire registration 177103.

''The search for Daley continues as we speak,'' said Powlovich at a Monday afternoon news conference in Norwich. ''This is a multi-agency response and the Vermont State Police are pursuing resources from several states to assist in the manhunt.''

The incident began Sunday afternoon on Interstate 91 in Thetford when a trooper stopped Daley for speeding. Daley, said to have faced drug and other criminal charges in both Vermont and New Hampshire, sped away after the stop.

The trooper radioed an alert and Johnson pulled into an interstate crossover about five miles south in Norwich. Johnson, a patrol commander in the Bradford barracks, placed spike strips in the highway to stop Daley by deflating his tires.

''He actually swerved to miss the spike sticks and went through the median up into the crossover where Sergeant Johnson was trying to take cover,'' said Sgt. Bruce Melendy. ''That's where his cruiser was parked.''

Johnson was thrown quite a distance and landed in the northbound lane. Troopers administered first aid to Johnson while Daley, who was ordered to stay at the scene, fled on foot.

''Troopers on scene stayed with their brother trooper to help him in any way humanly possible,'' Powlovich said.

Johnson was taken to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H., where he died at 4:46 p.m.

Police said Daley persuaded a canoeist who was unaware of the accident to take him across the Connecticut River into New Hampshire.

About three hours later he was seen in Springfield where he used to live. Police said he possibly was with an acquaintance identified as Morris Rice, 22.

Helicopters and hundreds of state, county and local law enforcement officers participated in the manhunt Sunday and Monday.

Police issued three warrants for Daley's arrest on Monday on charges of gross negligent operation with death resulting, leaving the scene of a fatal accident, and attempting to elude police.

Daley was convicted of careless and negligent operation and leaving the scene of an accident in August of 2000 in Vermont. He also has been arrested in New Hampshire on charges of possession of a controlled drug, simple assault and possession of a narcotic.

Capt. Glenn Cutting said Johnson was the first state police officer to be killed by someone else in the line of duty. Two others were shot but survived, he said.

The last trooper to die in the line of duty was Sgt. Gary Gaboury, who drowned May 12, 1992, while attempting to retrieve the body of a college student from the Huntington Gorge in Richmond.

On Monday flags hung at half mast and a basket of red and orange flowers rested at the flag pole's base in front of the Bradford barracks where Johnson was stationed.

''A member of our close knit family was killed in the line of duty,'' Public Safety Commissioner Kerry Sleeper said.

Aside from being a dedicated trooper, Johnson was known as an outstanding athlete and recently had been hired to coach the Oxbow Union High School basketball team, Polowvich said.

Johnson is survived by his wife Kerry, daughter Reilly, 12, and sons, Grady, 7, and McKendrick, 5.

Funeral services are scheduled for Friday in Bradford.
 
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