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Sorry I thought I had posted this already.

Police officer struck by car

11/19/2003

HOLYOKE - Police Sgt. Robert Wagner was struck by a car off Westfield Road, Route 202, last night while investigating a report of a deer being hit in almost the same spot, police said last night.

Wagner was taken by ambulance to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, where he was being treated for a leg injury.

The accident occurred about 8:51 p.m. Police closed the road for a period while investigating the accident.

Wagner was serving as the street supervisor last night.

Shortly after the accident, Lt. Brian P. Cassidy said a motorist in the accident was in custody. Police Chief Anthony R. Scott said later, however, that no arrests had been made and the investigation was continuing.

Wagner's father-in-law, former alderman Thomas M. Monahan, said his daughter Margaret, Wagner's wife, was at the hospital with her husband and reported he was being prepared for surgery on his leg.

Scott, who visited the hospital after learning of the accident, said Wagner had a broken leg. "He's conscious and he's not in critical condition," Scott said.

Wagner, a former city police chief, won a federal whistleblower lawsuit against the city but the jury in June awarded him only $1, a verdict his lawyers have said they will appeal.
 

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Recovering

Police sergeant recovering
11/20/2003

By DAVID REID Staff writer
[email protected]

HOLYOKE - Police Sgt. Robert Wagner, who was struck by a car while on duty Tuesday night, was recuperating yesterday after overnight surgery to repair a broken leg suffered in the incident.

"He's lucky to be alive," his wife, Margaret, said yesterday from Wagner's hospital room at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield.

Patrol Officer Kenneth J. Moriarty, the department's traffic officer, said yesterday that Wagner was struck by a car as it headed west on Route 202 shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Wagner, the street supervisor, had parked his cruiser across the road by vehicles driven by a patrol officer and the city's animal control officer, who were responding to a report of a deer hit by a car, Moriarty said.

Moriarty, who is still investigating, said the driver, an Agawam man who police declined to identify, tried to stop when he saw Wagner in the road, as evidenced by skid marks. He said the car was probably traveling around the posted speed of 40 mph. and that no citations have been issued.

A burned out streetlight just up the hill, he said, could have been a contributing factor.

Wagner, he said, appears to have been hit from the rear, which sent him flying up onto the hood and windshield of the car before he hit the pavement. "He was very fortunate," said Moriarty, who spoke to the sergeant at the hospital yesterday.

Margaret Wagner said yesterday her husband now has a steel bar and several metal pins in his leg, that he is bruised all over, and will be laid up for some time.

"He said he never saw the guy coming," she said. "But he remembers flying through the air."
 

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Home Coming

Officer hurt while on job returns home

11/26/2003

By DAVID REID Staff writer
[email protected]

HOLYOKE - One week after being hit by a car and suffering a severely broken leg, police Sgt. Robert Wagner returned home yesterday to what he said was an outpouring of good wishes.

"The response was unbelievable," Wagner, who served as police chief from 1991-94, said about numerous cards, letters and phone calls he received from family, friends and colleagues.

And there was a sign on his front lawn reading "Welcome Home Bob" put there by Jamie Pike, his son-in-law.

After spending a week at the Baystate Medical Center in Springfield where he twice underwent surgery to repair the broken leg, Wagner, 52, said returning home in time for Thanksgiving is wonderful.

To repair Wagner's left leg, doctors inserted a metal rod and several pins to stabilize the limb, and told him to stay off the leg for from six to eight weeks. He said he hopes to return to work in about six months.

The accident occurred about 9 p.m. on Nov. 18 as Wagner crossed Route 202 with other officers to check on a deer that had been struck by a car.

Police said they do not expect to issue any citations to the driver of the car, Richard D. Scaife, 54, of 87 Perry Lane, Agawam.

Patrol Officer Kenneth J. Moriarty said his investigation appears to show Scaife was distracted by the presence of patrol cars on the darkened road and did not see Wagner until it was too late.

Moriarty said Wagner was thrown onto the hood of the car and smashed the windshield, which absorbed much of the force of the accident and probably minimized the injuries.

Neither Scaife nor two teen-aged boys in the car, who had just finished basketball practice, received any but minor injuries, Moriarty said.

Interviewed at the hospital, Wagner said he had lingered in the street to wave his flashlight at a speeding motorist headed in the other direction and never saw the car that struck him.

"All of a sudden I'm floating through the air," Wagner recalled, adding that he experienced the accident as a slow-motion ballet of sorts as he landed on the car and then slid off onto the ground. "I'm lucky to be alive," he said.

In June, Wagner won a federal whistleblower lawsuit against the city but the jury awarded him only $1, a verdict he is appealing. Wagner suit claimed former police chiefs and superior officers disciplined him because he cooperated with a 1996 State Police probe of police corruption and racial discriminate here.
 
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