Heslam: Accident reopens old wounds for those who faced similar horror

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    Heslam: Accident reopens old wounds for those who faced similar horror
    Jessica Heslam Thursday, March 17, 2016

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    The pain and grief of yesterday’s tragic highway death of a Massachusetts trooper is all too familiar to retired state police Lt. Ric Teves.

    “It’s a sad day for all of us,” Teves told me last night. “Every time we lose one of the people in the blue line — anyone who’s either on the job or has been on the job can feel that pain.

    “There’s no such thing as a routine stop,” Teves added. “This is evidence that it all could change in a heartbeat.”

    Nearly 13 years ago, Teves was among those who responded to the scene of a horrible crash on Route 25 in Wareham, where a drunk-driving teenager barrelled into a parked cruiser, nearly killing trooper Ellen Engelhardt.

    Ellen was his girlfriend.

    The crash left Ellen — a vibrant 50-year-old mother — paralyzed and with severe brain injuries.

    “She was my person,” Teves recalled. “She was a great trooper and a good mom. She loved being a trooper.”

    Ellen died from her injuries in 2011. The driver, William Senne, got three years’ probation and lost his license for 15 years.

    Yesterday, Ellen’s daughter, Lora Tedeman, texted Teves after learning about trooper Thomas L. Clardy, who was killed on the Mass Pike in Charlton when a car slammed into his Ford Explorer cruiser. Clardy, 44, had stopped another vehicle for a traffic violation. He leaves a wife and six children.

    Teves and Tedeman are close. “She’s like a daughter to me,” Teves said.

    The pair spoke on the phone yesterday. They talked about the trooper’s death and recalled Ellen’s accident, too.

    “For both of us, anytime there’s an accident anywhere, where a trooper or a police officer is hit and killed, it has an affect on us,” Teves said. “Every time it happens, it’s like opening old wounds.”

    Teves retired a few years ago.

    “I thank God I’m retired and I’m out of the business, because the work those guys and gals have today out there — it was dangerous then for all of us and it’s now even more dangerous,” Teves said.

    Teves said he also responded to the accident that killed trooper Paul Barry a decade ago. Barry was 39 years old, a married father of seven, whose cruiser struck an empty dump truck parked in a breakdown lane on I-495.

    Another trooper at the scene knew Barry’s family. “Go — take care of them,” Teves told the trooper. “That’s what you do. You take care of the families.”

    Now, troopers are left with the heartbreaking duty of taking care of the Clardy family.

    Heslam: Accident reopens old wounds for those who faced similar horror

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