At around 9 p.m. on Feb. 13, 1953, Trooper Ernest J. Morse, age 31, of New Haven, was patrolling on the Wilbur Cross Parkway when he spotted a car reported stolen in Brookline, Mass. Morse pursued the car south on the Merritt Parkway into Trumbull, where he was able to stop the vehicle near the Route 8 interchange. As Morse approached the car, John Donahue, age 20, of Arlington, Mass., fired a shot and struck Morse in the abdomen.

Several minutes later, a carload of sailors from the Groton submarine base found Morse lying near his car and still conscious. Morse whispered portions of a license plate number to the sailors and directed them to use his radio to call for help. An ambulance and other State Police came to his aid, but Morse died less than an hour later at Bridgeport Hospital.

In 2003, the portion of Nichols Avenue in Trumbull, one of the oldest highways in the state, was named the “Trooper Ernest Morse Memorial Highway” in his honor. A commemorative sign was placed at the intersection of Nichols Avenue and the Merritt Parkway, but has subsequently been moved to the town border with Stratford, for some unexplained reason. Host towns usually place black bunting around these signs to commemorate the anniversary of the departed.