Donations, Prayers Offered for Injured Officer, Passenger

… Both remain in the hospital recovering from Monday morning crash …

Daily Record/Sunday News

Updated: 04/19/2011 11:36:48 PM EDT

York, PA – Prayers and well-wishes have been pouring in for Northern York County Regional Police Officer Matthew Groff and his passenger, Joshua Abbott of York Haven, who were injured in a crash on Interstate 83 early Monday morning.

Donations are being collected from the community and surrounding police departments to help defray expenses for the family of the officer. His family lives outside of York County.

Groff was driving Abbott, who was suspected of driving under the influence, to York Hospital when the police cruiser was involved in two separate wrecks. The police car struck a box truck, officials said. Then an 18-wheeler slammed into the police cruiser.

Groff suffered serious injuries and is at York Hospital, police said. Abbott of York Haven is listed there in satisfactory condition, hospital spokesman Barry Sparks said.

The crash remains under investigation.

The officer

Groff, 24, of Harrisburg has been with Northern York County Regional Police since May 2010.

The department extended “a heartfelt thank you for the outpouring of support from the community and fellow law enforcement officers” on its website.

The officer and his passenger are still in the thoughts and prayers of Springettsbury Township Police, Chief David Eshbach said.

“We wish them the best,” he said.

Some of Springettsbury’s officers responded to the crash Monday morning, Eshbach said.

Patrolman Greg Hadfield, who has been in law enforcement about a decade, described it in a text message as “by far the worst crash” he had ever seen and immediately asked for prayers for the officer and passenger, Eshbach said.

With the hours officers spend in traffic, they know they can be involved in a crash, but they hope it never happens, Southwestern Regional Police Chief Greg Bean said.

“Your heart definitely sinks when you hear of an officer being injured because it brings back the memories of all the others who have been in that situation,” he said.

Northern York County Regional Police Officer David Donald Tome is one, Bean said. Tome was killed in 2008 when he was struck by a car while reconstructing a previous wreck.

A special bond exists among police officers, and when something happens to one of them, it’s as if it was a good friend, Bean said.

Northern Regional is doing everything the right way — taking care of the officer, his family and the department, said Kim Weigand, executive director of the Central Pennsylvania chapter of Concerns of Police Survivors — COPS.

The officer and his family are getting help from the community and surrounding police departments, including donations, she said.

The passenger

Prayers and words of encouragement filled 22-year-old Joshua Abbott’s Facebook page after the crash.

“He’s doing pretty good,” his father, Michael Abbott, of Mount Wolf said Tuesday evening.

While Michael Abbott declined to speak about the crash, he said his son was in the intensive care unit until Tuesday morning when he moved to a regular room at the hospital.

His son is expected to undergo surgery today for a broken pelvis and will likely start therapy on Thursday, Michael Abbott said.

Friends and family have been wishing him well, and he has received a lot of visitors.

“The more people come and visit him, the better,” Abbott said.

Officer Groff

According to Northern Regional’s website, Officer Matthew Groff is a 2005 graduate of Central Dauphin High School and a 2009 graduate of the Pennsylvania State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice. He graduated from the 97th Police Academy at Harrisburg Area Community College in June.

Comments are closed.