Connecticut State Police identified the trooper who drowned early Thursday morning after being swept away in floodwaters as Sergeant Brian Mohl, a 26-year veteran of the department.
Mohl, 50, was working the midnight shift when his vehicle was carried off a road in Woodbury by flooding from the remnants of Hurricane Ida, officials said. Mohl sent out a distress call at roughly 3:30 a.m. and police searched the area with divers, helicopters, boats, and drones.
Mohl’s car was found shortly after sunrise, but he was not inside. About an hour later, officials recovered his body from the Pomperaug River. Responders performed life-saving techniques before transporting him to Yale New Haven Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
“I was telling everybody, ‘Stay safe, stay home, let’s ride out this storm.’ That’s not what you do as a trooper,” Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said at a news conference. Lamont directed that flags be lowered to half-staff in Mohl’s honor.
Congresswoman Jahana Hayes offered her condolences to Mohl’s family and said his death underscored the numerous and sometimes unpredictable risks police officers face.
No one expected “to discuss an officer passing away during a weather event, but that’s what this job entails,” she said. “Every time they leave their homes, there’s a possibility that they will not return.”
“This is just heartbreaking news, and I mourn for his family, loved ones, and the members of the Connecticut State Police,” Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz said in a statement. “Sergeant Mohl dedicated his life and career to the great task of serving our community and state. May his bravery and courage long be remembered, and may his memory be a blessing for all who knew him.”
Mohl’s death marks the 25th line-of-duty death in the history of the Connecticut State Police. The officer was among at least 45 people from Maryland to Connecticut killed by the hurricane and its aftermath on Wednesday and Thursday.