South Dakota State Trooper Serves through Chemo.
"I wasn't expecting it. I'm in my 20s, I was a marine, I'm in pretty good shape...you just don't hear about it happening to people this age, you know, being diagnosed with cancer," South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper Douglas Roderick said. One year after the former marine joined the South Dakota Highway Patrol, a diagnosis of chronic leukemia rocked his future. But now a new long term treatment plan is helping the Madison trooper get back on the road. "I like what I do. I get to meet the public, I like to give back and help the community out as much as I can," Roderick said. It's a passion he first fulfilled as a marine. I always felt like I needed give back; my parents are both in the military as well," Roderick said. But he quickly turned to law enforcement after meeting his wife. "Abby wasn't too keen on that, going out being deployed,being away from home so much, so I thought this would be the next best thing," Roderick said. Shortly after becoming joining the Highway Patrol in Murdo, Roderick says his wife helped him make a life saving move. "I wear my vest and it was pretty tight so I started to get a pain in my chest during my night shift and I didn't think much of it....but Abby told me to get it checked out so that's when I went to the ER," Roderick said. After several tests, doctors found Roderick had extremely high white blood cell levels and broke the news that he has leukemia. "It's just something you never think is going to happen. I remember I was talking to him and he was going into the ER in Pierre and I don't know what I thought was wrong with him but you definitely don't think it's going to be cancer," Roderick wife Abby said. Just two years into their marriage and Doug’s new career, the diagnosis felt like a sudden stop to their future. “At one point I thought maybe I couldn't do this job still, just because of treatments and what they do to you in the beginning, getting sick and tired all the time,” Roderick said. Further tests revealed Doug had chronic leukemia, which meant a slower, less aggressive form of treatment. “I do my treatments everyday. I take it at night and that's kind of to curb off the side effects, because then you sleep through all the side effects that might be happening but I don't have too many side effects anymore because my body's gotten used to it a little more,” Roderick said. For seven months of adjusting to his daily dose of chemo, Doug worked a desk at Highway Patrol Headquarters in Pierre, always hoping to one day get back on the road to protect and serve. “Him going back to work, you can see him light up again and be excited; I can tell that he's enjoying his work,” Abby said. Today Doug is once again a full time trooper, living in Madison and working out of the Brookings Highway Patrol office. “A spot opened up to move closer to Sioux Falls and closer to doctors…now we've figured out a good regiment so I can come back full time again. I'm just grateful that I can do that. I'm lucky in a sense that this is the form of cancer that I have…I know it could be a lot worse,” Roderick said. It’s that incredibly positive outlook that's helping Doug and his wife to once again dream about a bright future together. “The future is scary, but we try to stay positive,” Abby said. “Just try to live day to day, try not to think about it too much, do the things we like to do, go out and do things and just enjoy life as much as possible now, especially after a diagnosis like this,” Roderick said. Doug's fight with cancer is far from over; his current treatment plan is to continue taking a dose of chemo every night for the rest of his life unless it goes into remission or until someone can find a cure.
Connecticut State Trooper injured on the job finally returns to work.
Seventeen months after the incident that nearly claimed his life, Connecticut State Police Trooper Mike Quagliaroli is telling his own story for the first time and he spoke exclusively with NBC Connecticut’s Heidi Voight. At first glance, sitting at the Troop H barracks, Quagliaroli has no visible injuries. But underneath the uniform, he says, are physical scars from his injuries and surgeries. His retelling of events reveals another invisible injury – memory loss caused by severe head trauma. He can’t remember the accident itself, that night, or any other part of the day it happened- Thursday, August 7, 2014. “The last thing that I actually remember is Wednesday evening,” he recalls. “I had to jump my truck because the battery had died. The next thing I remember was waking up Friday morning in Hartford Hospital. They said, you were in an accident; look up at the news. My story was on TV.” He pieced together what happened in between by reading the accident investigation reports. Around 7:20 p.m., he responded to Interstate 91 North in Hartford near Jennings Road to help a driver remove a large fallen object from the roadway. He stopped his cruiser as a road block and activated his emergency lights as he assisted Enfield resident Aaron Altenhein. Seconds later, a 2014 Honda Civic driven by West Haven resident Ilona Gladu-Perez hit both of the men, with Trooper Quagliaroli taking most of the impact. “I went into the windshield, shoulder-first, my left shoulder, and then when the driver hit the brakes I was sent flying off of the vehicle,” he said. “I landed head first and skidded about 85 feet on the pavement.” Quagliaroli had only been on the job for eight months. Suddenly, he faced potentially career-ending injuries: a fractured tibia and fibula requiring two surgeries and severe head trauma. He spent two weeks in Hartford Hospital, followed by two weeks at an in-patient rehabilitation facility before returning home to begin a year of intensive outpatient physical therapy. “Painful? Absolutely. There were days where I would actually say, 'We have to stop. I can’t go any further,'” he recalled. “But the next time [my physical therapist] came in, I’d go a little bit further and push a little bit harder because I just wanted to get back.” Quagliaroli said the support of family, friends and his fiancée Krystal carried him through those difficult days. Finally, as of January 16, 2016, he was cleared to return to full duty as a Connecticut State Trooper. He spent his first few days back doing ride alongs to get back into the swing of things. Now, “It’s like I never missed a beat,” he said. Gladu-Perez was charged with violating the move over law, enacted in 2009 as a measure to keep first responders and road crews safe. It requires drivers on any highway two lanes or wider to move over a full lane or, if that’s not possible, to significantly and visibly slow down when they see vehicles with flashing lights operated by police, fire, EMS, road crews or commercial tow operators. Violation penalties range from a $181 ticket for a first offense to fines up to $10,000 in cases of injury or death. “Every day not only do members of my barracks but state police troops across the state in addition to firefighters, tow truck operators, DOT workers are standing on the sides of the highways in the state of Connecticut,” said Lt Marc Petruzzi, commanding officer at Troop H. “This makes it possible for my troopers to be able to go home at the end of the night and go back to their families. It prevents our agency from having to deal with a tragedy that could very easily be avoided if people are paying attention and giving us the space we need to do our work.” It’s a law based on deadly precedent. Several Connecticut troopers have been killed on the roads after being hit while standing outside or sitting in their cruisers. Most recently, Trooper First Class Kenneth J. Hall, a 22-year veteran of the State Police and former U.S. Marine, was killed on September 2, 2010 on I-91 in Enfield while making a traffic stop. In Echo Hall at the State Police Academy, the photos and stories of Connecticut’s fallen troopers hang on the wall for all recruits to see. It’s a tribute, and a constant reminder of the dangers of the job. “They always told us in the academy, it’s not a matter of if, but when,” Quagliaroli said. “That was my time. ... But I’m still here.” Note: Quagliaroli has served as a reservist in the Air National Guard for nine years. He deployed to Afghanistan from July 2011 to January 2012. He is a graduate of Windsor Locks High School.
Georgia State Trooper Shot following a Car Chase
What should’ve been a simple Wednesday afternoon traffic stop on I-75 turned into a 10-mile chase and ended with an exchange of gunfire, a wounded state trooper, a dead suspect and thousands of Cobb County motorists caught in the traffic-clogging aftermath. Georgia State Patrol spokesman Capt. Mark Perry said the incident, which blocked I-75 south at South Marietta Parkway for hours, began shortly after 3:30 p.m. when Trooper Jacob Fields, a three-year veteran of the force, attempted to stop a speeding Chevrolet Silverado. The pickup truck, which had allegedly been clocked going 98 miles per hour, continued down I-75 and Fields followed. The chase continued until Delk Road, where Fields and two other troopers attempted to stop the Silverado with a boxed-in maneuver, Perry said. The truck finally came to a stop after rear-ending a civilian driver. “At that point,” Perry said, the driver of the Silverado “comes out of the vehicle, he has a weapon, shots are exchanged.” Authorities said the truck’s driver, 26-year-old Acworth resident Israel Vladimir Rodriguez, shot first and troopers returned fire. Fields, who serves out of Marietta’s Post No. 9, was shot in the leg and the lower abdomen, just below his bulletproof vest. Both men were taken to WellStar Kennestone Hospital. Fields was “alert,” “conscious,” and “talking” with his family Wednesday evening, Perry said. The trooper will likely to remain at the hospital for another two or three days but is expected to fully recover, authorities said. Rodriguez underwent surgery upon arrival at the hospital but died around 10:30 p.m., Georgia Bureau of Investigation spokesman Scott Dutton said. The GBI is investigating the shooting. In addition to Fields, two other troopers fired shots and are on standard administrative leave, Perry said. Traffic on I-75 southbound was snarled for more than six hours hours after the incident. One lane of the interstate opened by 7 p.m., but full traffic was not restored until around 10:30 p.m.
Indiana State Trooper Rescues A Stranded Dog
An Indiana State trooper went above and beyond the call of duty to rescue a lost family dog that became stranded on a river bank. On Jan. 8, Trooper Ted Robertson received a call about a dog named Diesel. The dog’s owners, Don and Sandy Knauer, said Diesel had been frightened by a thunderstorm and ran off on Dec. 26, 2015. Family members had been searching for him ever since, posting flyers in the area and on social media. Diesel ended up on the east bank of the Wabash River across from the Duke Energy Plant. The plant is in Vermillion County while Diesel was in Parke County, on the other side of the river. A Duke Energy employee reported seeing the dog; his wife notified the Knauer family to let them know that they may have spotted Diesel. The family tried to get help from several different law enforcement agencies to rescue the stranded dog, but they kept running into roadblocks. They contacted Trooper Robertson, who was off-duty but came to the scene. Though the water was high and temperatures were falling, Robertson took his personal fishing boat to the public access boat ramp along State Road 234. Robertson guided the boat through the darkness for about a mile and reached the area near Diesel. Seconds after his owners called his name, Diesel reached the boat and was rescued. The Knauer family sent a letter of appreciation to command staff at the Putnamville Post where Robertson works. They’re still not sure how Diesel made it to the east bank of the river, given that the family lives on the other side.