The National Guard member from Shelton who remains in critical condition after the Thursday vehicle accident on Interstate 95 in New York state is a veteran of the war in Iraq.
Sgt. 1st Class Kayla Anne Downey, 31, of Shelton was seriously injured and is being treated for her injuries at a local hospital.
Downey served in Operation Iraqi Freedom and received numerous awards and decorations for her service in that war in the Mideast.
She now serves with A Company, 192nd Engineer Battalion, of the Connecticut Army National Guard, which is based in Stratford.
Another solider died in accident
Another National Guard member, Staff Sgt. Ronald Patterson Jr. of Bridgeport, was killed in the accident. Patterson Jr. also served in Iraq and had received awards and decorations for his service. He also was a member of Company A in Stratford.
Downey and Patterson were in a Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV) that was transporting used ammunition from Connecticut to Fort Dix, N.J. Which of the two was driving the LMTV has not been released yet.
At about 10:20 a.m. on Thursday, Aug. 7, their vehicle collided with a civilian car on the highway. The driver of the civilian vehicle also was taken to the hospital.
A second military vehicle — a van — was traveling with the LMTV but was not involved in the accident, which occurred on I-95 near the border of Port Chester and Rye, N.Y.
‘Thoughts and prayers’
Maj. Gen. Thaddeus J. Martin, adjutant general and commander of the Connecticut National Guard, expressed his concern and condolences to the families and soldiers affected.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Staff Sgt. Patterson and with Sgt. 1st Class Downey and her family,” Martin said. “The full resources of the Connecticut National Guard will be available to the families and fellow soldiers of Patterson and Downey who have been affected by this tragedy.”
Civilian and military authorities continue to investigate the motor vehicle accident.