BELCHERTOWN, Mass. (WWLP) – A Massachusetts State Police trooper from the Belchertown barracks remains seriously injured following a car crash in Salt Lake City, Utah last week.

Salt Lake City Police say around 1:00 a.m. on Friday, officers were called to a two-car crash. An investigation revealed a Mini Cooper was traveling at a high rate of speed when it crashed into a Kia. According to the State Police Association, Belchertown Trooper Matthew McRae was a passenger of the Kia, as a ride-share, when it was involved in the incident.

The driver of the Mini Cooper, identified as 19-year-old Liam Kavanagh, was injured in the crash and was arrested for the incident. Salt Lake City Police say alcohol and speed were a factor in the incident. The passenger was also arrested for interfering with police investigation.

When police arrived, Kavanagh reportedly admitted to having “several shots” earlier in the night and reportedly showed signs of impairment. Kavanagh’s passenger, Nicholas Kalberer, 19, also allegedly drank earlier in the night and attempted to pose as an uninvolved witness to the crash.

Three people were inside the Kia and injured in the crash. The driver was minorly injured, a second passenger in the back was seriously injured and Trooper McRae was seriously injured. McRae was placed in the ICU at the University of Utah Hospital. The State Police Association says he remains in critical condition but is slowly recovering and is hopeful to soon return to Massachusetts.

“We would like to express our immense gratitude for the outpouring of love and support for Matthew and our family. We cannot adequately express our gratitude to everyone who has been supporting us, praying for us, and helping guide us through this terrible time. Matthew’s current condition remains critical. In light of that status, we have witnessed firsthand the fight and determination Matthew has within him. We know him to be a fighter and one who stands up for the things he believes in. He has already defied the odds and continues to fight this very minute here in this hospital for his life. For now, we ask for privacy and your continued prayers as we navigate the next steps in this process. Thank you all again for your love and support during this difficult time,” said the McRae family, shared by the State Police Association.

“The sad irony of this tragic situation is not lost one anyone who knows Trooper McRae. A graduate of the 85th Recruit Training Troop currently assigned to the State Police-Belchertown Barracks, as well as a former local police officer, he has dedicated his life to protecting others and making the Commonwealth’s roads safer.

It is never more apparent that we in the MSP are an extended family than it is in a time of crisis. I am grateful beyond words to SPAM and SPAM President Pat McNamara for the tireless assistance they have provided to Trooper McRae and his family, both on the ground in Utah and back here in Massachusetts. I am, as ever, grateful also to our Employee Assistance Unit, which provides incredible support to Department members and their loved ones in times like these. Finally, I am deeply thankful to the Salt Lake City Police Department, the Utah Highway Patrol, the local firefighters and paramedics, and hospital staff for their response and aid to our Trooper.

As first responders, we are too well-versed in the fragility of life. The tragic consequences of motor vehicle crashes and impaired drivers that we see in the course of our work in no way dulls the emotions we feel when one of our own is so harmed. We keep Trooper McRae and his family in our prayers and our hearts as we go about our mission — the same mission that Trooper McRae has performed in service to others throughout his young life.”

Massachusetts State Police Superintendent Colonel John E. Mawn Jr.

Trooper McRae’s family with help from the State Police Association have created a GoFundMe to help pay for any potential medical transport flights and future medical expenses.

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