Trooper Ellen E. Engelhardt Massachusetts State Police, Massachusetts EoW: Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Ellen E. Engelhardt

Massachusetts State Police, Massachusetts
End of Watch: Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Biographical Info

Tour of Duty: 23 years
Badge Number: Not available

Incident Details

Cause of Death: Vehicular assault
Date of Incident: July 26, 2003
Weapon Used: Automobile; Alcohol involved
Suspect Info: Sentenced to 2.5 years

Agency Contact Information

Massachusetts State Police
470 Worcester Road
Framingham, MA 01702
Phone: (508) 820-2300

Trooper Ellen Engelhardt succumbed to injuries sustained eight years earlier when her patrol car was struck by a drunk driver on Route 25 in Wareham.
Trooper Engelhardt was parked on the shoulder of the road when the drunk driver struck the rear or her vehicle at nearly 90 mph. Her injuries left her in a vegetative state and she was unable to speak or communicate.
The driver was sentenced to only 2 1/2 years in prison.
Trooper Engelhardt had served with the Massachusetts State Police for 23 years. She is survived by her daughter.

The accident that forever altered Engelhardt’s life happened just after 6 a.m. on July 26, 2003.
According to police reports, Engelhardt was parked in the breakdown lane just off Rte. 25 in Wareham, investigating a hit-and-run accident that had been reported to police about 3 1/2 hours earlier.
Senne, meanwhile, spent the hours leading up to the accident drinking and partying with friends.
In a statement given to State Police Sgt. Lawrence Garbacik, Senne said he had left his family’s Cape Cod home about 9 p.m. the night before, headed for a party at a friend’s house in Wayland.
In an interview with police after the accident, Senne admitted to drinking three or four beers earlier in the night, and said he arrived at the party at about 10:30 p.m., stayed for a few hours, and drank one or two more beers.
Though he originally told police he left the party at about 2:30 a.m., Senne later corrected himself, saying he left just before 4:30 a.m. Though he hadn’t slept at all during that time, Senne told police, "I pull all-nighters all the time."
Senne told police he couldn’t remember what happened in the accident, and claimed he had fallen asleep.
At least two witnesses, however, seemed to contradict his story, telling police they’d seen Senne’s Volvo weaving in and out of all three lanes of traffic at more than 90 mph. Witnesses also reported seeing the car’s brake lights go on just before the accident, and saw smoke coming from the brakes.
Regardless of how much Senne’s car may have slowed, the accident was devastating.
According to police reports, Senne’s Volvo plowed into the back of Engelhardt’s Crown Victoria, smashing it into the guardrail and flinging it approximately 175 feet from the point of impact. Senne’s car came to rest about 100 feet away.
Senne was taken by ambulance to Tobey Hospital in Wareham, where he later allowed police to draw blood to determine his blood alcohol level at the time of the crash.
Though his blood was drawn several hours after the crash, a prosecution expert indicated Senne’s blood alcohol level at the time of the accident was between .08 and .12 — at or above the legal limit in the Bay State.
Nearly a year and a half after the accident, Senne pleaded guilty to drunken driving and driving to endanger, and was ordered to serve 2 1/2 years in the Plymouth County House of Correction, followed by five years probation and 500 hours of community service.

As detailed in court papers, the injuries Engelhardt sustained in the crash were devastating.
Immediately following the accident, Engelhardt was taken by helicopter from Rte. 25 in Wareham to Boston Medical Center, where she was hospitalized for six weeks.
Engelhardt underwent "multiple surgeries, which included the removal of portions of her brain," the suit reads, before being transferred to Rehabilitation Institute in Chicago. Today she lives at the Middleboro Skilled Care Center, where she requires constant care.
The injuries left Engelhardt unable to speak or communicate. She can barely hold her head up, and is confined to a wheelchair and fed through a stomach tube.


1 Response to “Trooper Ellen E. Engelhardt Massachusetts State Police, Massachusetts EoW: Wednesday, June 1, 2011”

  1. 1 Brian Warcup June 1, 2011 at 17:24

    Condolences to the family and agency. This is a travesty of epic proportions. One hand you have the loss of life through many years of suffering and deteriorated quality of life. On the other hand, you have a travesty of justice in that the assailant only received 2 1/2 years jail time and made such a flippant comment about pulling all nighters. Again deepest sympathies to the family and agency.

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