A recent article in the MetroWest Daily news tells the story of a Shrewsbury man who is facing serious charges, including motor vehicle homicide by negligent driving. The charges were issued in connection with the death of a pedestrian the defendant is accused of hitting. The defendant is a former bus driver for the Worcester Regional Transit Authority and was working when he allegedly struck a 62-year-old woman with his bus. The alleged victim reportedly died on September 28, 2012. The defendant, who is 70 years old, reportedly retired after the accident. A complaint containing the charges was reportedly issued on Thursday, December 13th. The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned next month. It will be decided whether the defendant will be held on bail, and how much, at the arraignment.
The alleged victim was reportedly six to ten feet into the road when she was struck by the defendant’s bus. She also was reportedly not in a crosswalk. Police allege that the defendant never came to a complete stop before making a turn. Visibility was reportedly poor because of rain, as well as glare from other vehicles.
The charges the defendant is facing are serious. A conviction for motor vehicle homicide could result in incarceration.
The defendant could be facing a misdemeanor or felony offense of motor vehicle homicide. What the prosecution will have to prove depends on whether he has been charged with the misdemeanor or felony offense. Either way, the prosecutors will have to prove that the defendant operated a motor vehicle on a public way or where members of the public have a right of access or are invitees and that his actions caused the death of another person.
However, if the defendant is charged with the misdemeanor version of this offense, the prosecutors will only have to prove that he operated the vehicle recklessly or that he operated the vehicle negligently so as to endanger the lives and safety of the public. If convicted of the misdemeanor section of the statute you can be sentenced for up to 2 ½ years in jail.
If the defendant is facing the felony version of this offense, the prosecutors will have to prove that he operated the vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs and that he operated the vehicle recklessly or negligently. The defendant could be sentenced to up to 15 years in prison if convicted under this section. There is a minimum mandatory one-year jail sentence if he is convicted.
The article does not mention whether the defendant is alleged to have been under the influence of any drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident. Therefore, he is likely facing the misdemeanor charge of motor vehicle homicide. The article also makes it sound as though the prosecutors will argue that the defendant was driving in a negligent manner at the time of the accident.
If convicted, the defendant is facing incarceration and other serious consequences. He needs an experienced Massachusetts criminal defense attorney. Anyone facing charges of vehicular homicide needs a skilled attorney. Contact me–Attorney Cappetta–today if you are facing a criminal charge such as this one.