Officer hurt in crash
By Kristen Bradley / Daily News Staff
Thursday, September 8, 2005
MARLBOROUGH -- A Marlborough police officer rushing to help a man having a seizure was seriously injured early yesterday morning after his police cruiser was broadsided by a car and sent smashing into a telephone pole.
Officer James Gough, 38, a member of the Marlborough Police Department for five years, was taken by helicopter to UMass Medical Center in Worcester with head trauma, skull lacerations, two broken ankles and a broken wrist, according to Marlborough Police Chief Mark Leonard.
Gough was listed in serious condition last night, according to a nursing supervisor. Leonard said Gough was expected to undergo ankle and wrist surgery either last night or sometime early today.
"He's going to be OK, but he has a long road ahead of him," Leonard said.
Around 7:30 yesterday morning, Leonard said a 911 dispatch call came into the station reporting that a man was having a seizure inside his car, Leonard said.
Gough was dispatched to the scene and was traveling south on Bolton Street (Rte. 85) with his blue lights and emergency siren on, Leonard said.
After passing the Texaco gas station on his left, Gough was continuing down Bolton Street when a Volkswagen Jetta shot out of Tremont Street on his right. Tremont Street is a small side road across the street from the gas station.
Leonard said the Jetta -- driven by 18-year-old Jason P. Collins of Marlborough -- smashed into the front righthand side of Gough's police cruiser, pushing the cruiser over the double yellow lines and onto the wrong side of the street. The cruiser then smashed into the sidewalk curb, went onto the sidewalk and into the telephone pole.
Leonard said Gough's cruiser sustained heavy damage, including a smashed windshield.
Collins was taken to Marlborough Hospital, where he was treated and released within hours, police said.
The Massachusetts State Police Reconstruction Unit was called in to investigate, Leonard said. Whether speed was a factor is part of that investigation, Leonard said.
Leonard said the accident remains under investigation and currently there are no charges pending against Collins, a junior football player at Assabet Valley Regional Technical High School.
Yesterday, at his Tremont Street home, Collins was too upset to talk. But his mother, Moira Collins, said her son has been "so upset and feels so guilty."
Moira Collins said her son told her that he was at the bottom of Tremont Street for over five minutes yesterday morning, waiting to take a left-hand turn onto Rte. 85/Bolton Street. Finally, there was an opening in traffic and he took the turn, she said.
"He said he never saw the cruiser, he never heard anything or saw the lights because of the little corner and the bushes and the wall down there," she said.
At the base of Tremont Street is a 4-foot-high stone wall. Before coming to the stone wall, there is a slight curve on Rte. 85 southbound.
"He just keeps saying, 'That guy's in the hospital right now and I feel so guilty,'" Moira Collins said.
"My son said his car spun around a few times and when it stopped and he saw the police officer, he got out and ran to go help him...but that's when other people who had stopped told (my son) that he needed to sit down because he was in shock."
Gough, who is married, is the brother of Marlborough Police Detective Michael Gough. Last year, Michael Gough waged a battle against cancer, with fellow officers holding dozens of fund-raisers to help support Gough, his wife and three children. He is currently in remission and has returned to the police force full time.
Article online at MetroWestDailyNews.com
Police officer hurt on call in Marlboro
By Elaine Thompson TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
MARLBORO— A Marlboro police officer on his way to aid a driver who was having a seizure ended up in the hospital yesterday with both ankles and a wrist broken after his siren-blaring cruiser crashed into a car that darted into its path.
Police Chief Mark Leonard said Patrolman James Gough was taken by ambulance to Marlboro Hospital, where a Life Flight helicopter flew him to UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester. He said the officer suffered a head injury and fractures to both ankles and his right wrist.
“I went up briefly to see how he was doing. They were still working on him and evaluating him and running some tests. They were still checking things out,” the chief said in a telephone interview yesterday.
The accident happened at 7:32 a.m. The 38-year-old officer, who works the midnight-to-8.am.shift, was responding to a 911 call from a driver who was having a seizure at the intersection of Phelps Street and Route 20. The city’s medical emergency response includes a Fire Department truck, an ambulance and a police officer, the chief said.
The cruiser, with its emergency lights and siren activated, was traveling south on Bolton Street (Route 85), not far from the police station, when a Volkswagen Jetta pulled out of Tremont Street into the path of the cruiser, police said. The vehicles crashed and the cruiser then hit a telephone pole before it stopped.
The officer was able to call the Police Department for help. The driver of the Volkswagen, Jason P. Collins, 18, of 19 Bicknell Drive, Marlboro, was taken to Marlboro Hospital, where he was treated and released. Both vehicles sustained heavy damage, with the cruiser possibly destroyed.
Chief Leonard said charges are pending based on the outcome of an investigation by the state police accident reconstruction unit. The specialty unit generally is called whenever there is an accident with serious personal injuries. The state police also is often asked to investigate matters that involve a local police officer.
Chief Leonard said it is not known whether Officer Gough was wearing his seat belt.
“We’re not sure right now. That’s still under investigation,” the chief said. “We’ll talk to the state police and see what the reconstruction shows … put our witness statements together and go from there.”
Officer Gough joined the Police Department in June 1996, following in the footsteps of his older brother, Officer Michael J. Gough, a 16-year veteran.