Mass. drunk driver charged in trooper’s death after 2003 crash

In early June, we reported about the Massachusetts State Police trooper who died eight years after being hit by a drunk driver in 2003 and suffering a major brain injury. The trooper, who was 58 when she died, was one of the first women on the force and loved her job. But following the accident, she was forced to live in a Massachusetts rehab facility until her family decided to bring in hospice care in May.

The person who hit the trooper in July 2003 was an allegedly drunken 18-year-old Wayland, Massachusetts, man who was driving his father’s car at close to 100 miles per hour when he ran into her patrol car. Recently, it was reported that the driver, who is now 26, faces up to 15 years in prison after being charged with motor vehicle homicide.

Reportedly, the man has already served two years in prison for the accident. He pleaded not guilty to the new charges at his arraignment last week in Plymouth Superior Court. If convicted, it is possible that the two years the man has already served will be subtracted from his new sentence.

Cases like this with delayed prosecutions are somewhat unusual. One attorney from the area who specializes in DUI defense said that he had never seen a case like this in the decade and a half that he has been practicing law. Delayed cases like this are most common in premeditated murder cases where the victim eventually dies.

A spokesman for the state police said that a decision was made to bring the new charges in effort to seek justice for the fallen trooper.

“We know that no indictment can ever fill the hole left behind in the hearts of those who loved her, but it is entirely fitting that these new charges were brought because a life was taken and the person who took it should be held responsible,” the spokesman said.

It was not reported if a wrongful death lawsuit was brought against the alleged drunk driver, but it is certainly a possibility unless an early personal injury case was already settled.

Source: Boston Globe, “8 years after accident, new charges come,” Brian R. Ballou, Sept. 23, 2011.