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Police officer killed in crash


By WILLIAM SWEET Staff writer
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MONSON - Mourning as they worked, Monson police yesterday investigated an early morning car crash that killed one of their own, Michael E. Bolaske.

"Everybody's pretty shook up," said an exhausted Police Chief Curtis M. McKenzie, who had been up all night overseeing the investigation of the accident, which occurred on Palmer Road (Route 32), near Massachusetts Electric Co.

Police responding to the accident at 1:47 a.m. discovered that Bolaske's 1999 Ford Taurus had struck two utility poles. He was headed south at the time of the accident.

Bolaske, the only occupant of the vehicle, was transported by local ambulance to Wing Memorial Hospital in Palmer, and later taken by LifeFlight helicopter to UMass Medical Center in Worcester, where he died from his injuries, McKenzie said.

McKenzie said investigators weren't ready to suggest what caused the accident, as accident reconstruction was still being done yesterday by his department and the State Police Accident Reconstruction Unit. He said it was unclear if he was wearing his seat belt.

The chief was already making arrangements yesterday to help the department cope with the loss of Bolaske, who leaves a wife and three children.

A critical stress incident debriefing is expected for today, where specially trained personnel will be brought in to help the 25-member force deal with the emotional implications of losing one of their own.

A Monson native and resident, Bolaske, 37, was appointed a part-time officer in July 1999. President of his graduating class at the Agawam Police Academy, Bolaske was appointed full time in 2000.

In his time with the force, he served in a number of positions, including court officer, property officer and school resource officer. He had instructed others in firearms, and the DARE and the Rape Aggression Defense programs.
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