THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING

Trooper injured by hit-run driver in Peabody

By Marissa Lang
Globe Correspondent / July 5, 2010

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A Massachusetts state trooper suffered a leg injury while working a highway detail in Peabody early yesterday morning after a passing car sideswiped him, according to a State Police spokesman.

Sean M. McGarry, who has been a trooper for five years, was treated and released from North Shore Medical Center-Union Hospital in Lynn and is expected to be on injured leave for several days. The accident was similar to one in which a state trooper from Brockton was hit and killed last month.

Just a few minutes before 2 yesterday morning, McGarry and state Trooper Joseph R. Keefe pulled over a driver who had swerved into the breakdown lane while driving on the southbound side of Route 128.

Both troopers’ cruisers had their blue lights flashing as Keefe and McGarry, 32, examined the pulled-over vehicle.

Suddenly, a silver sedan zoomed past the troopers, sideswiping McGarry, who attempted to jump out of its way, according to a statement from State Police.

The car, which did not stop, hit the trooper’s leg.

“Luckily by the grace of God these were relatively minor injuries,’’ said State Police spokesman David A. Procopio. “It could have been much more serious.’’

The sedan’s passenger-side mirror was knocked off during the accident.

State Police are asking anyone with information on a silver or gray sedan that is missing a passenger-side mirror, including the identity of its driver, to contact State Police barracks in Danvers at 978-538-6161.

Due to the nature of their job, Procopio said, state troopers are in constant danger from oncoming traffic and it is not uncommon for a trooper to be struck by a passing vehicle.

“Every night, without question, there are troopers out of their cruisers on the side of the road,’’ Procopio said in a phone interview.

“In the performance of their duties, Massachusetts state troopers do face danger from passing motor vehicles,’’ he said.

On June 18, Sergeant Douglas Weddleton, a 52-year-old veteran state trooper from Brockton, was killed shortly after midnight on Interstate 95 after he stopped an allegedly drunk driver and another allegedly drunk driver slammed into him.

If caught, the driver of the silver sedan that struck McGarry could face a range of charges, the least of which would be a violation of the “move over law,’’ a state law that calls for drivers to allow for a wide gap between their cars and emergency or maintenance vehicles parked with their flashing lights on.

The law, which carries a $100 fine, requires drivers to slow down and move to the left, if they can do so safely.

At 2 a.m., Procopio said, with little traffic on the roads, a driver should have had no problem avoiding pulled-over vehicles.

Marissa Lang can be reached at mlang@globe.com.

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