Highway worker saves trooper from truck crash

Cruiser Crash
Massachusetts Highway Department truck driver Kevin Sullivan rests in his hospital room at Boston Medical Center on Thursday. Earlier in the day the State Police presented Sullivan with a special framed badge, foreground, after he saved a state trooper's life.Robert E. Klein / AP
/ Source: The Associated Press

He saved a state trooper's life by moving his own vehicle into the path of an oncoming truck, but highway worker Kevin Sullivan thinks he should have done more.

"The only thing I felt bad about is that I didn't stop it from hitting the cruiser," said Sullivan, who was released from the hospital Friday. "That's what my job was, to keep it from hitting the cruiser."

Sullivan's Massachusetts Highway Department truck was mounted with a giant arrow lighted to direct traffic around the cruiser and a crew filling potholes along Interstate 495 in Middleborough on Wednesday.

In the rearview mirror, he noticed a tractor-trailer that he knew wouldn't be able to stop in time; he didn't think twice about putting his truck in the way.

"I just stood there and took it; that's all," Sullivan, 59, said Thursday from his bed at Boston Medical Center. He has cuts and bruises on his face, including two black eyes, and was treated for a chipped cheek bone.

Sullivan's vehicle was designed to absorb impact, but the force of the collision flipped it three times.

"On the third end-over roll I yelled out: 'Stop the ride! I've had enough,'" he said. "It was better than anything Universal Studios has."

The tractor-trailer then plowed into the rear of Trooper Michael Fitzgerald's cruiser, crushing it like a soda can.

"The frame of the truck ... was only four inches from the back of the front seat," Sullivan said.

Fitzgerald suffered minor injuries and was released from the hospital hours after the accident.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Duane Sylvia, 43, of Middleborough, has been cited for several traffic violations, including failure to yield to men and equipment in the roadway and speeding in a construction zone.