Nevada mourns state trooper killed in crash
RENO ” Flags were lowered to half-staff Thursday in honor of state Trooper Kara Kelly-Borgognone, Nevada’s first female law-enforcement officer to die in the line of duty.
Kelly-Borgognone, 33, was critically injured late Monday when her patrol car was slammed by another vehicle while responding to a call. An organ donor, she was kept on life support until 12:45 a.m. Thursday, when doctors completed the harvesting of her organs.
“As a final act of selfless service, she wanted to help others live longer lives and better lives,” the NHP said in a statement announcing her death.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Lawlor Events Center on the University of Nevada, Reno, campus.
Kelly-Borgognone had been a trooper for two years, serving eight years before that as a parole and probation officer. She and her husband, Dirk, have two daughters, Blair, 13, and Ashlyn, 3.
Her brother, Chris Kelly, is a 14-year veteran with the NHP and is assigned to the Reno area.
“She loved wearing the uniform,” Trooper Chuck Allen said. “She was a highly energetic, highly motivated trooper. She was excited every day to come to work.”
Allen said her supervising sergeant had just submitted her name for an award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving because of the number of DUI offenders she had taken off the streets.
“Kara is the first female officer to be killed in the line of duty in the history of the state,” Allen said.
Law enforcement officers in the region placed a black strip across their badges in a sign of mourning.
Kelly-Borgognone was responding to assist in a bomb scare around 10 p.m. Monday north of Sparks when a Chevrolet sport utility vehicle crashed into the driver’s side door of her Ford Crown Victoria patrol car.
The driver of the other vehicle, Matthew Henderson, 33, of Sun Valley, suffered only minor injuries.
Over the next three days, fellow troopers and other law enforcement officers kept vigil outside her hospital room through her final moments. They planned to keep someone by her side through burial.
“Kara lost her life in the line of duty while protecting us all,” Sparks Mayor Geno Martini said in a statement. “She was an outstanding law enforcement officer who served our state and community with professionalism and dedication.
“We must never forget those who have devoted their lives to protect us from harm.”
Gov. Jim Gibbons also offered condolences.
“I extend my deepest sympathy to Trooper Kelly-Borgognone’s friends and family,” Gibbons said. “Her death is a sobering reminder that those in law enforcement make great sacrifices to ensure the safety of Nevada’s citizens.”
The Washoe County sheriff’s office, which is investigating the crash, said it could be next week before investigators determine the cause of the crash. No charges have been filed.
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Brooke Keast said investigators are corroborating witness statements and inspecting the vehicles.
Monday night’s bomb scare involved a plastic cooler left in the parking lot of a Terrible’s gas station in Sparks. The bomb squad was called and other law enforcement agencies, including Kelly-Borgognone, responded to set up a safety perimeter.
A small explosive charge was detonated to open the cooler, which contained cement core samples.
In 2006, while working as a probation officer, Kelly-Borgognone shot and killed a parolee after he tested positive for methamphetamine and tried to take her gun away.
Christopher Michael Tallman, 25, managed to get Kelly-Borgognone’s gun out of her holster but she wrestled it back and shot him in the head and chest.
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