CT state trooper accused of DUI is the latest to face charges

Photo of Peter Yankowski

BETHEL — A state police trooper arrested last week became the latest member of his agency to be charged with driving under the influence in recent years.

Andrew Murphy, 33, a state trooper out of Troop A in Southbury, was accused of repeatedly ignoring a Bethel police officer’s commands when he was found struggling to keep his balance in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven near his home last Sunday, according to an incident report.

Murphy, who is free after posting $500 bond, is scheduled to be arraigned Monday in state Superior Court in Danbury on charges of DUI, disobeying the signal of an officer and interfering with an officer.

Murphy is at least the third Connecticut state trooper to be arrested on a DUI charge in the past two years.

In 2019, state police arrested Sgt. John McDonald, a member of the Western District Major Crimes Squad, after they said he drove through a stop sign and crashed into a car carrying a woman and her daughter.

Police said McDonald, who like Murphy worked out of the Troop A barracks in Southbury, downed eight drinks at an Oxford brewery during a retirement party for another officer before getting behind the wheel.

State police said McDonald remains on administrative suspension. Last month, he pleaded nolo contendere to two counts of second-degree reckless endangerment as part of a plea deal allowing him to avoid jail time. He is also being allowed to take a pretrial alcohol education program to have the DUI charge dismissed.

Last March, state police said they arrested Trooper Shaquille Williams, a patrol officer out of Troop I in Bethany, on a DUI charge after they found his cruiser pulled off the side of Interstate-84 in Waterbury. A 911 caller spotted the vehicle and reported the car had its hazard lights on and the driver was either asleep or unresponsive, police said.

State police said Williams failed a field sobriety test. In body-cam footage of the arrest, Williams admitted he “messed up” to the officers who arrested him. He was charged with illegal operation of a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs and released on bond.

A spokeswoman for the state’s judiciary system said the case against Williams was nolled on Dec. 3, 2020.

State police said last week that Williams remains on administrative suspension.

Bethel police do not have body cameras and a Hearst Connecticut Media request was denied for dash cam footage of Murphy’s arrest last week. Bethel police Lt. George Bryce said the dash cam footage is “is not releasable,” citing an exemption in a state statute regarding public records.

The exemption allows law enforcement to withhold information or materials that an agency “reasonably believes may prejudice a pending prosecution or a prospective law enforcement action,” the statute reads.

According to a police incident report of the arrest, Murphy was off-duty when he told an officer who instructed him to not get behind the wheel to “watch this,” before getting into his car and driving about a mile to his house, traveling around 10 mph and swerving.

Police detained Murphy in his driveway and conducted a field sobriety test. The report said Murphy repeatedly identified himself as a state trooper and told the arresting officer that he was hurting “one of your own.”