Fairfield police chief back on the job after crash
Out of work for two weeks following a three-car crash that sent him to the hospital, Police Chief Gary MacNamara was back in his office Thursday as he began easing back into the daily grind.
"I'm trying to gradually get back to some sort of routine," MacNamara, 49, said. "I'm feeling better, but I think I still have a way to go for a full recovery."
Meanwhile, the investigation into the accident continues, and police said it appears that a medical condition, and not distracted driving, may have been the cause. A woman driving an SUV was headed north on Reef Road, near police headquarters, when she rear-ended MacNamara's police cruiser, which was stopped for a red traffic light at Reef and Post roads. After hitting MacNamara's car, she careened across the road, onto the patio at the Firehouse Deli, and struck a light pole and the building that houses the Victoria's Secret store.
MacNamara's car was sent crashing into a parked, occupied car.
"It's just a lesson that bad things can happen in an instant to any of us," the chief said. "The only saving grace is you start to see people at their best, and I'll never forget that."
The driver of the SUV, and her 7-month-old child, were treated and released from a local hospital, the occupant of the parked car refused medical treatment. MacNamara was taken to Yale-New Haven Hospital and kept overnight for treatment and observation.
"I've never experienced such a violent accident," MacNamara said. "I think that sometimes we all tend to forget that there are people out there willing and always ready to help someone in need. It may be a cliche, but when you experience it and the tables are turned, you experience and observe the true class of our public safety responders. You really grow to have a better appreciation."
Though he declined to talk about the specifics of the accident, and will have no role in the investigation, he said he believes the way the town's emergency personnel responded "did a great deal to limit the extent of my injuries."
The chief's injuries aren't visible to the naked eye, and primarily were head trauma and soft muscle tissue injuries, he said.
And MacNamara said he doesn't believe the level of response to his accident was special or accorded more officers, firefighters and ambulance personnel because of his position. The response, he said, "was because they are truly a professional, caring group of men and women."
The chief said he's thankful no one else was seriously injured in the accident and that the intersection -- one of the busiest in town -- wasn't crowded when the crash occurred.
"I'm happy to be back to work," MacNamara said. "I really am humbled by the outpouring of support, not only in this department and town government, but also from the community as a whole."