Connecticut State Police Patch STATE OF CONNECTICUT
Department of Public Safety
1111 Country Club Road
Middletown, Connecticut 06457
November 16, 2010

State Police Troopers from

TroopS A, B, L

Receive Service Awards

   State Police Troopers from Troop A in Southbury, Troop B in North Canaan and Troop L in Litchfield received awards for service during a ceremony November 16 at the Connecticut State Police Training Academy in Meriden.

   Twice a year, the Connecticut State Police honors Troopers who demonstrate bravery and outstanding service in the line of duty.  The ceremony also honors men and women serving in local and federal law enforcement agencies, those serving as first responders and civilians.  Award winners received medals and certificates from Commissioner James M. Thomas and State Police Colonel Thomas Davoren.  Governor M. Jodi Rell addressed the award winners.

   Awards were presented in four categories:

Ø  The Meritorious Service Medal is awarded to those who render service with a high degree of alertness, perseverance and superior judgment in the performance of a difficult task resulting in the protection of life, recovery of property, the prevention of – or solving of – a major crime or the apprehension of an armed or dangerous person.

Ø  The Lifesaving Award is presented to those who save a human life or make a valiant attempt to save a life.

Ø  The Outstanding Service Award is given to those who successfully perform an extreme, complex or difficult investigation. The person(s) also may demonstrate exceptional skill or ingenuity in the apprehension of a wanted person, provide outstanding service to the public and or continuously achieve excellence in performance of duties over an extended period of time.

Ø  The Unit Citation is awarded to members of a department, a command or group who combine their resources to achieve success in an investigation or event. The citation recognizes exceptional collective efforts.

         Awards were presented to:

    Trooper First Class William Blumenthal, Trooper First Class Ryan Pfeiffer of Troop A On April 8, 2010, at approximately 2:30 a.m., Trooper Blumenthal and Trooper Pfeiffer were responded to a residence in Oxford following a report of a man in cardiac arrest.

   The Troopers found the victim lying on his bed unconscious, unresponsive and without a pulse.  The Troopers immediately began CPR and continued for approximately 20 minutes before local EMS arrived on the scene and transported the man to a local hospital.

   It was later learned that the man had suffered a severe heart attack, as well as acute respiratory failure.  He received emergency treatment and has since recovered.  The immediate intervention and response of Troopers Blumenthal and Pfeiffer helped to save the life of the man.

The Troopers each earned a Lifesaving Award.

Stratford Police Officer Antonio Santos  

   On Nov. 7, 2009, at approximately 2:44 a.m., Officer  Santos responded to the scene of a one-car motor vehicle accident on Interstate 95 southbound near Exit 31 in the town of Stratford. 

Officer Santos found the operator of the vehicle unconscious, with his seat belt wrapped tightly around his neck with obvious signs of asphyxiation.  The driver’s upper torso was slumped in the front seat area and his lower body was on the road next to the open door.  Officer Santos quickly used his knife to cut the belt from the driver’s neck.  He remained with the driver until other emergency personnel arrived to move the vehicle away from the median wall and render first aid.

Officer Santos earned a Lifesaving Award.

Trooper First Class Glen Messenger of Troop A  

   On June 11, 2010, at approximately 2 p.m., Trooper Messenger arrived at a serious injury accident on Interstate 84 in Brookfield. 

   Trooper Messenger found a station wagon heavily damaged due to impact with concrete bridge supports.  The vehicle, wedged between a Jersey barrier and a bridge support, was suspended precariously several feet above the roadway.  The front passenger, a female, was seriously injured and trapped in the vehicle. She sustained multiple serious injuries, including the amputation of her right arm.

   Recognizing this life-threatening injury, Trooper Messenger used a shirt to apply a tourniquet to reduce further blood loss.  He continued to provide aid until the arrival of emergency medical personnel.  The paramedic transporting the woman to the hospital credited Trooper Messenger with saving the woman’s life. Trooper Messenger earned a Lifesaving Award.

Trooper First Class Michael Roach, Trooper First Class Michael Downs, Sergeant Jeffrey Covello, Sergeant Paul Collins, Trooper First Class Arthur Walkley of Troop A 

   On October 25, 2009, Troopers responded to a one-car rollover accident on Interstate 84 in Newtown.  The Troopers discovered the vehicle operator trapped in the car, lying on his back.  They observed that the man’s neck had visible and apparent trauma. His head could be seen at a peculiar angle with his face nearly facing the rear passenger seat. 
   Sgt. Covello and Trooper Walkley determined that the operator was not breathing and attempted emergency resuscitation.  The man’s position within the vehicle hindered such efforts and responding medical personnel raised a concern about the stability of the vehicle, which delayed the rescue efforts.

   With total disregard for their personal safety, Sgt. Covello and Trooper Walkely, along with Trooper Roach, Trooper Downs and Sgt. Collins, removed the operator from the unstable vehicle and continued resuscitation efforts.  Through the efforts of the Troopers, the operator initially survived the severe injuries he received in the motor vehicle accident.

   The Troopers each earned a Lifesaving Award.

Trooper Josef D'Uva of the Oxford Resident Trooper’s Office  

   On August 8, 2010, at 11:15 a.m., Trooper D'Uva took a call from a woman who reported that her boyfriend was at his residence in Oxford and had a loaded shotgun to his head.  She said that he was home alone and told her that he was going to shoot himself.  The woman reported that her boyfriend hung up the phone and was not answering her calls back to him.

   Trooper D’Uva notified Troop A and he and several Troopers responded to the Oxford address.  Upon arrival, Trooper D’Uva observed a man pacing on the front porch.

   Since he was still the only Trooper on scene, Trooper D’Uva cautiously approached the residence using the cover of trees in the front of the house.  The man appeared to be distraught and acted very erratically. Trooper D’Uva could only see the man from the shoulders up so, with his weapon drawn, he called out to him and identified himself as a State Trooper and ordered the man to drop his weapon. The man complied and Trooper D’Uva handcuffed him and secured the loaded shotgun.  The man was transported to an area hospital for treatment.  The timely intervention and outstanding decisive actions of Trooper D’Uva prevented a distraught man from harming himself or others. Trooper D'Uva earned a Lifesaving Award.

Trooper First Class David Hare, Trooper First Class Cory Genetski of the Oxford Resident Trooper’s Office   

   On January 31, 2010, at 11:00 a.m., Trooper Hare and Trooper Genetski were conducting a patrol check of Southford Falls State Park when they learned of a structure fire at an Oxford residence. 

   The Troopers arrived at the residence in less than one minute and found heavy smoke billowing from the two-story home.  They entered the home and located the owner in the basement fighting heavy flames with a small fire extinguisher.  The man had visible second degree burns to his hands and face and was severely disorientated from breathing the heavy smoke.

   Trooper Genetski pulled the man from the house while Trooper Hare ordered the victim’s wife from the house.  Trooper Hare then noticed a 20-pound propane tank on the floor that was leaking a propane gas vapor into the burning basement. Identifying the hazardous condition which the leaking tank presented, Trooper Hare threw the tank outside the basement door into the snow-covered backyard, preventing a catastrophic explosion. 

   The homeowner was transported to a local hospital for his severe burns. The Troopers were credited by fire personnel with saving the life of the homeowners and preventing the total loss of the home. Trooper Hare and Trooper Genetski each earned a Lifesaving Award.

Trooper First Class Matthew Eagleston, Trooper First Class John Collins of Troop L

   On July 17, 2010, at 8:12 a.m., Trooper Eagleston conducted an NCIC query on a vehicle as it was traveling on Route 8 southbound with two male passengers.  The query revealed the vehicle was stolen out of Bethel.  Trooper Eagleston attempted to conduct a motor vehicle stop at Exit 42 and the vehicle operator proceeded to engage the Trooper in a pursuit.  The operator had outstanding arrest warrants from three other towns and other law enforcement personnel reported that the operator may be in possession of a handgun. 

   Trooper Collins joined the pursuit shortly after it started.  The pursuit lasted approximately 10 minutes and encompassed 8 miles through 3 different towns.  The operator was taken into custody after he stopped his vehicle on Route 118 in Harwinton. 

   Troopers Eagleston and Collins each earned a Lifesaving Award.

Trooper Donald Chasse Jr.; Troop A, Southbury; Waterbury Police Department; Troop A Dispatcher Dispatcher Cindy Dielemans  

   On August 9, 2010, at 1:51 a.m., Danbury Police notified Troop A of a vehicle that was identified as containing armed robbery suspects and heading toward Interstate 84.  The suspects used a handgun and a baseball bat to commit the crime and then fled in the vehicle.  Dispatcher Dielemans broadcast a detailed description of the suspect vehicle and Troopers Roach, Krause and Chasse took posts at various points along I-84.  Trooper Chasse, positioned near exit 18, observed the suspect vehicle and proceeded to follow it while using radio communications to coordinate back-up officers to the area. 
   Trooper Chasse followed the vehicle off Exit 23 in Waterbury and, with the help of Waterbury Police Officers, the vehicle was stopped and the three suspects were taken into custody.  
   Troopers Chasse, Roach and Krause then secured the scene and preserved evidence that matched the Danbury Police broadcast.  The Troopers recovered several knives, a baseball bat, face masks, a gun that resembled a real semi-automatic pistol and the victim’s cell phone.

For this incident, Trooper Chasse earned an Award for Outstanding Service; Troop A and Waterbury Police earned a Unit Citation Award; Dispatcher Dielemans earned a Commissioner’s Recognition Award.

Trooper First Class Michael Dyki of the Oxford Resident Trooper’s Office  

   On July 15, 2009, Trooper Dyki responded to an Oxford residence where a bullet entered the rear of the home passing through the exterior walls, grazing the homeowner’s leg and damaging several walls before lodging in an interior wall.

   During his investigation, Trooper Dyki collected and documented evidence and conducted repeated neighborhood canvasses.   With this evidence, the State Police Forensic Laboratory provided the make and type of weapon from the recovered bullet.  Trooper Dyki spent hours hand searching more than 1,000 weapons purchases and transfers within the Town of Oxford and developed a suspect. 

   Trooper Dyki prepared and executed a search and seizure warrant on the suspect’s home, resulting in the seizure of a .357 magnum revolver which the suspect had purchased on the day of the shooting incident. 

   Trooper Dyki interrogated the suspect and obtained a partial confession. The weapon was confirmed by the forensic lab to have fired the round which had struck the home and victim.  The suspected shooter was arrested and charged. Trooper Dyki earned an Award for Outstanding Service.

Trooper Josef D’Uva, Sgt. Daniel Semosky, Oxford Officer Dennis D’Archangelo of the Oxford Resident Trooper’s Office  

   On June 7, 2010, at approximately 12:17 p.m., Trooper D’Uva and Sgt. Semosky responded to an Oxford resdience for a reported burglar alarm.  They checked the exterior of the home and found a side door forced open, apparently kicked in. The house was immediately searched and found to be unoccupied.

   The Troopers searched the area, as well as the Naugatuck State Forest reservoir parking area located a short distance away.  A vehicle parked in the lot matched the description of a suspect vehicle in several reported burglaries.  During the search, a male was located and detained while entering the parking area on foot.  He initially lied about which vehicle was his; however, he walked to the suspect vehicle to retrieve his identification. The man had brush and dirt on his clothes and shoes, as well as fresh cuts on both legs – all consistent with him running through the woods.  The man denied being in the woods or being involved in the burglary.

   A canine unit was brought in to conduct a track that led from the burglary scene, through the woods and briars patches, to the rear of the scene and eventually to the suspect’s location.  A shoe print was located during the track and matched to the suspect’s shoes. The suspect continued to deny involvement in the burglary, but after further questioning, he finally confessed to this burglary and several others in Oxford.   

   The three each earned an Award for Outstanding Service.

Troop B, North Canaan; Troop L, Litchfield; Troop A, Southbury; Western District Major Crime Squad; State Police Emergency Services Unit;  Winchester Police Dept.;  Chief State’s Attorney’s; DEP Police; US Marshals from Connecticut, Michigan, Florida 

   On April 5, 2010, the U.S. Marshal’s office contacted Troop B in North Canaan regarding a fugitive from justice.  The fugitive was wanted for shooting at two Florida Troopers during a motor vehicle stop and pursuit.  Subsequently, the fugitive eluded a massive two-day manhunt in Sumter County, Florida.  Marshals stated the fugitive might be in the Winsted area accompanied by his girlfriend.  Troop B personnel shared this information with other law enforcement agencies in the northwest corner to ensure the safety of the public and other law enforcement officers. 

   The next day, law enforcement personnel developed additional information and with cooperative assistance of the Winchester Police, the Department of Environmental Protection Police and the U.S. Marshals, a search commenced.  A command post was established at the Winchester Police Department to track information and assignments.  More than 50 law enforcement personnel were involved with this operation at any given time. 

   Working with vast numbers of officers as well as coordinating inter-agency information was not an easy task.  The the potential of danger was extremely high and movements and assignments were carefully determined and executed to maximize the safety of all involved.

   On April 7, 2010, two days after the original notice, the fugitive was taken into custody after he attempted to flee capture by jumping out of a second-story residential window as the State Police ESU tactical team advanced and surrounded the home.  In total five people were arrested in connection with this investigation. 

   All involved in this complex investigation earned a Unit Citation Award.

Troop L, Litchfield   O

   On May 22, 2010, at 2:15 a.m., Troop L received a 911 call from a campground in Litchfield.  The caller reported that an intoxicated man, reportedly armed with a knife, entered the campsite of the caller’s family threatening to cut the caller’s throat.  A 13- and 15-year old were sleeping in a family camper nearby as this incident unfolded.   Fearing for his safety and that of his family, the caller contacted Troop L and provided a detailed description of the man and the incident as the man fled further into the campground.  

   Sgt. Jeffrey Norkus, Trooper Anthony Sciarretto, Trooper Joao Dos Santos and Trooper Dickie Murchison arrived at the campsite and began securing the immediate area for the suspect.  The Troopers located and apprehended the suspect, who was armed with a large hunting knife.  The suspect was later found to be a violent convicted felon with multiple arrests between 1988 and 2008.  At the time of his arrest, the man was on probation. 

   The Troopers from Troop L earned the Unit Citation Award.

Troop B, North Canaan  

   On May 21, 2010, Troop B Troopers were assigned to investigate a report of threatening in New Hartford.  Trooper Steven Stebbins and Trooper First Class Todd Fedigan received a complaint from a family member who stated that the subject planned to bring a shotgun and pistol to his final divorce hearing and kill his wife and then himself at court.  The subject further threatened that he would not leave his home alive. 

   Sgt. Patrick Sweeney, Trooper First Class Shawn Higgins and Trooper Jason St. John responded to the area to assist Troopers Stebbins and Fedigan.  Sgt. Sweeney obtained information about the suspect and subsequently developed a plan of action deploying Troopers in a perimeter around the house. 

   With the assistance of a relative, the subject was coaxed from his residence.  Sgt. Sweeney then approached the subject and distracted him, at which time Troopers Higgins and Fedigan rushed in, and after a brief struggle, took the suspect into custody.  A subsequent search of the residence by Troopers St. John and Stebbins located two loaded rifles inside the doorway of the home. Troopers from Troop B earned the Unit Citation Award for this incident.

Oxford Resident Trooper’s Office 

   On September 24, 2009, the Oxford Resident Troopers Office received an anonymous tip regarding marijuana possession at an Oxford residence.  At one end of the driveway of the residence, Troopers found two large marijuana plants containing bulky green buds.  They found 5 other separate mature marijuana plants in separate containers at the opposite end of the driveway.  Along with mature marijuana plants, several dozen empty commercially-purchased compost bags were lying in the area, on the ground and in the three green household garbage containers.

   Two larger marijuana plants in separate containers were discovered in the opened garage. Written consent was obtained from the homeowner to search the residence, vehicles and the outbuildings on the property.  The basement revealed high power grow lights, a high intensity generator and circulating fans.

   A sweep of the residence revealed several large boxes containing bulky gallon size, clear baggies filled with dried and processed marijuana. A separate room within the residence contained scales along with several hundred dollars in cash.  A suspect living at the address confessed to the possession, cultivation and sale of the marijuana.    

   Members of the Oxford Resident Troopers Office spent many hours documenting and processing the crime scene ultimately taking approximately 21 pounds of marijuana and a major drug supplier off the streets.

   Troopers from the Oxford Resident Troopers Office earned a Unit Citation Award.

Mr. Avi Aponte  

   On April 1, 2010, at 1:37 p.m., Troop G received reports of a wrong way driver on Interstate 95 in East Haven.  A Connecticut Department of Transportation CHAMP truck was in the immediate area, driven by Avi Aponte. 

   Mr. Aponte notified the DOT operations center that he had located the wrong-way driver and was going to attempt to stop it.  The Troop G operations center and dispatch personnel observed on camera that the CHAMP truck slowed down traffic to take up a position that forced the wrong-way driver to stop. 

   Mr. Aponte exited his truck and removed the keys from the ignition of the car driven by the wrong-way operator.  Mr. Aponte then moved the car and the CHAMP Truck onto the right shoulder until a State Trooper arrived on scene.

   Avi Aponte is commended for his quick response and understanding of the immediate danger caused by the wrong-way driver.  Mr. Aponte earned a Commissioner’s Recognition Award.