A state trooper from Ashby continues to recover from the serious injuries he sustained on vacation in Utah when a suspected drunk driver crashed into the ride-share vehicle he was traveling in during the early morning hours Friday.
Trooper Matthew McRae, 28, experienced several broken bones, including a broken neck, and a spinal injury during the wreck, which took place in Salt Lake City, according to a GoFundMe account organized by his family.
State Police Colonel John Mawn Jr. released a statement on Tuesday morning stating McRae was still in the intensive care unit at the University of Utah Hospital, in Salt Lake City.
“Trooper McRae’s family is with him at the hospital, as is a member of the Executive Board of the State Police Association of Massachusetts (SPAM),” Mawn said. “SPAM is spearheading efforts, along with our Employee Assistance Unit, to support Trooper McRae and his family.”
As of their latest post on the GoFundMe account on Monday, McRae’s family said he “makes small improvements every day.”
“Matthew is a fighter and continues to battle on,” they stated.
A press release from the Salt Lake City Police Department said emergency responders received multiple calls about the crash just after 1 a.m. Friday. Crews arrived on scene to find two cars with heavy damage.
Police said a preliminary investigation determined 19-year-old Liam Kavanagh, operating a Mini Cooper, was traveling at “a high rate of speed” when he crashed into a Kia.
According to police, officers determined Kavanagh was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the wreck.
Kavanagh suffered serious injuries, which police described as not life threatening. He was arrested on felony driving under the influence, unlawful consumption of alcohol by a minor, and a traffic infraction.
“Additional charges may be filed upon a case review with the district attorney’s office,” police said in the release.
Three people were inside the Kia, including McRae, who was in the backseat with another passenger. Police said the other passenger had serious, but not life-threatening injuries. The ride-share operator endured minor injuries.
“The sad irony of this tragic situation is not lost [on] anyone who knows Trooper McRae,” Mawn said in Tuesday’s statement. “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.”
A close friend of McRae, Keegan Ezzio, described McRae as “truly a one of a kind person.” McRae is set to be the best man in Ezzio’s wedding, which is slated to take place in October.
“You seldom meet a person that everyone likes and Matty is one of those people,” Ezzio said.
Learning about the crash was the scariest phone call Ezzio said he has ever received.
“We are just thankful he is making small improvements day to day since he is the fighter I’ve always known him to be,” Ezzio added. “We have so many people to thank for the support for Matty.”
Mawn thanked the emergency crews in Utah, and reminded the community of “the tragic consequences” of drunk driving.
“As first responders, we are too well-versed in the fragility of life,” Mawn said. “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.”
According to his family, McRae has served as a trooper for four years. Before that, he served with the Berlin Police Department for three years.
As of late Tuesday afternoon, the GoFundMe account had raised just over $100,000.
According to a post, the family met their financial goal to cover McRae’s medical transport back to Massachusetts within the first 24 hours, but they are still accepting donations for ongoing medical care and any other unforeseen expenses.
“He has already defied the odds and continues to fight this very minute here in this hospital for his life,” McRae’s family stated. “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.”
To donate, visit gofundme.com/f/help-us-to-raise-money-on-behalf-of-matthew-mcrae.
Follow Aaron Curtis on X @aselahcurtis