March 5, 2014 07:12AM
By A.J. ALGIER
Sun Staff Writer
NORTH STONINGTON — Kenneth L. Startz, a local businessman and former Connecticut state trooper, remained in critical condition this morning with injuries suffered when he was struck by a car Sunday night.
Startz, 53, of 37 Wamphassuc Road, Stonington, has had family with him while at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, where Lifestar flew him after the accident on Route 2, according to a friend and colleague, Donna Hogan.
Hogan was fielding phone calls from friends made to Startz’s business, Community Hearing Aids of Connecticut. His wife and business partner Kimballi Andreozzi-Startz has been spending long hours at her husband’s bedside.
The Startzes were leaving a trade show at the MGM Grand at Foxwoods and were headed west on Route 2 when a table flew out of the back of his truck, according to a Connecticut State Police report. Hogan said the table was used at the show.
The police said Startz was struck by a car being driven by Serena Chen, 34, of 8 Brandywine Drive, Westerly, when he was removing the table from the westbound travel lane.
Dr. Rocco Andreozzi, Startz’s brother-in-law, said Tuesday afternoon that his condition “took a turn for the worse” when a brain injury was discovered that required immediate surgery. Andreozzi said surgery was performed Monday and the next few days would be critical in Ken’s recovery.
“It was lifesaving surgery,” Andreozzi said, adding that a brain scan showed bleeding and the need for critical intervention. “There was a lot of damage,” including broken bones.
Andreozzi said he believes there were some elements of Startz’s rescue that were in his favor. He said his wife found a state trooper in the area of the crash. The trooper called for Lifestar immediately upon realizing the severity of the incident, and the helicopter landed at the Preston Plains School grounds at routes 2 and 164 within 10 minutes, Andreozzi said.
His rehabilitation after the hospital would be a long haul, Andreozzi said. He expressed surprise at the circumstances of the accident, noting that Startz — a former high-ranking trooper in charge of a bomb squad and dive recovery team — was ordinarily not a risk-taker. “He’s the most cautious guy I have ever known,” he said.
Andreozzi said Startz’s son, Todd, has also been at the hospital since the accident. Startz also has two grandchildren.
Hogan, describing the couple she works with, said, “They bring in cookies every day. It’s not cliché. They are truly good people.”
She said patients at the two offices in Groton and Norwich are treated as family and adore Startz.
“They need a lot of support,” she said.
The police said the incident is under investigation and no charges had been filed against the driver.