Sprague to restore state’s first female veterans statue damaged in drunk driving crash

New London

SPRAGUE, Conn. (WTNH) — The town of Sprague is planning their restoration of the female veteran statue that was damaged Monday in a drunk driving crash.

Related: State Police: Drunk driver arrested for knocking over female combat veteran statue in Sprague

Mason Rich Revere measured broken granite slabs as he assessed how he will piece together the memorial Tuesday.

The monument is the first in the state honoring female veterans.

“This was a great project to work on and it was disappointing to get that phone call the other morning to say she got hit,” said Revere who owns Revere Masonry.

The statue of a female soldier kneeling to honor a fallen comrade was unveiled last year on Veterans Day. Since then, many have come to the Sprague Veterans Memorial Park to see her.

Related: Town of Sprague unveils first statue honoring female military members in the state

“I stop by actually to see the statue every time I’m in town,” said veteran Sherri Vogt.

She joined the army in 1986.

“The fact that she’s kneeling and paying her respects to her comrades really speaks to me,” said. Vogt. “I just love the monument.”

Police say 27-year-old Tyler Gaudette, of Vernon, was under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs while driving a Nissan Murano when the accident happened Monday night.

According to police, Gaudette failed to stop at a stop sign at the T intersection in the center of Baltic and when trying to take a left onto West Main Street he actually left the road hitting the top of a stone wall and knocking over a granite bench. That is when the statue was hit. 

Town workers say the car landed to the side of the memorial and they believe it was the top of that granite bench that flew into and knocked over the statue.

“Our post who took five years to raise the more than $50,000 necessary to erect and make the statue are just absolutely devastated by this,” said State Senator Cathy Osten, (D) Sprague, who is an Army veteran herself.

She says the statue has been removed for safe keeping until it can be repaired and reinstalled.

“Hopefully the person who was in the accident has insurance, too, and they’ll be able to pay for it,” said Sen. Osten.

The accident report indicates Gaudette has USAA insurance which covers military members and their families. These ladies say they will stay positive and get the job done because that’s what veterans do.

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