Connecticut State Police Sergeant John McDonald pounded at least eight pints of beers in less than three hours at a local brewery during a retirement party for a fellow cop before hopping into his unmarked patrol car and speeding away a little over two years ago.
He was cruising along at 71 mph in a 40-mph speed zone less than a mile away from the bar when he ran a stop sign and t-boned another car, sending both cars off the road into the nearby woods, hospitalizing the 52-year-old mother and 19-year-old daughter inside the other car.
It was September 25, 2019 and it was obvious to everybody responding to the scene he was drunk because the then-37-year-old cop reeked of alcohol and was slurring his words and was also having a difficult time maintaining his balance, according to responding officers.
But even in a state considered one of the toughest in the country against drunk driving, he was given the typical Blue Privilege treatment awarded to cops when they break the law; that state-sanctioned protection that keeps dirty cops on the payroll for years after committing infractions that would have gotten them immediately fired at any other job.
In fact, he was able to keep his job and $118,000 salary for more than two years after the incident as he repeatedly postponed his trial which police say kept internal affairs from conducting its own investigation.
When he finally went to trial in May 2021 after at least 12 continuances, he managed to avoid jail time by agreeing to a plea deal that allowed him to plead no contest to two misdemeanor counts of reckless endangerment, resulting in a suspended six month sentence for each count.
It was only then that internal affairs began its own investigation into the crash which kept him on the payroll even though he had just been convicted of two crimes. However, internal affairs eventually launched a second investigation regarding McDonald’s honesty over an internal payroll system he had been assigned to manage during his paid administrative leave.
And that is when he finally decided to resign last week, allowing him to begin applying for his pension.
A Connecticut State Police spokesperson offered vague details about the second investigation, only saying it was over “truthfulness related to the management of a computer software system,” according to CT Insider. The spokesperson also said the state is in the process of decertifying his status as a law enforcement officer, meaning he will have to leave Connecticut if he wants to work again as a cop.
Meanwhile, a lawsuit filed by the victims, Lisa and Madison Conroy, against McDonald remains pending which you can read here. Another lawsuit filed against the brewery, accusing staff of continuing to serve McDonald even though he was visibly drunk, was settled in January for $225,000
But even though it’s been more than two years since the crash, nothing has been mentioned about the other cops who were at the brewery that day, drinking along with McDonald and allowing him to drive drunk and probably driving drunk themselves.
And nothing has been mentioned about the fellow cops who appeared to have helped him leave the hospital after the crash to avoid administrating him a blood test that would determine his blood alcohol level.
And nothing has been mentioned about the cops who responded to the scene but failed to administer a breathalyzer or have him conduct a field sobriety test even though it was obvious to everybody he was drunk.
“That guy is definitely hammered, he is not listening to me to stay out of the roadway,” an off-duty Oxford firefighter told one of the first Southbury police officers arriving at the scene shortly after the crash, according to the Hartford Courant.
A Southbury police officer told a Connecticut state police officer that McDonald appeared “injured or drunk” and was “swaying back and forth while on a cellphone.” Other witnesses said he was slurring his words and that he reeked of booze.
But even though there were at least two law enforcement agencies at the scene, McDonald was never administered a field sobriety test or a breathalyzer because police say, he had claimed to be injured and needed to be transported to the hospital.
But once at the hospital, he was never given a blood test to determine how much alcohol he had drank because he left the hospital without being treated.
In fact, a nurse told NBC Connecticut that McDonald left the hospital “accompanied by friends” – which we can assume were fellow cops – when it was their job to determine how drunk he was before the crash in order to execute an arrest. At least that’s how it works for everybody else.
Nevertheless, Connecticut state police told local media McDonald left the hospital on his own “before investigators arrived” – which even if it were true, reveals a high degree of incompetency but is likely just another Blue Lie.
Truth is, had it not been for security video footage from Black Hog Brewery in Oxford showing him pounding eight drinks in less than three hours as well as ordering more drinks and walking them outside as he swayed and bumped into tables, he may have never been charged with drunk driving two months later.
And even though he ended up convicted 18 months later, the charges against him were reduced to misdemeanors after he was initially charged with felony assault with a motor vehicle as well as driving under the influence which would have resulted in a suspended drivers license.
The conviction for two counts of reckless endangerment placed him on probation for two years and also required him to serve 100 hours of community service. He was also allowed to enter an alcohol education program which will wipe the conviction from his record, according to Fox 61.
Meanwhile, Lisa and Madison Conroy say they are still recovering from injuries from the crash.
“This incident has permanently and forever changed our lives,” the Conroys said in a statement following McDonald’s conviction in May, according to the News-Times.
Watch the video below showing McDonald ordering a round of beers and walking them outside to where the retirement party was taking place.