Gardner and Smith Plea Not Guilty to OUI and Motor Vehicle Homicide Charges in Death of Highway Construction Worker

September 20, 2010
By Parker Scheer LLP on September 20, 2010 12:11 PM |

One Tuesday, September 14, Gardner and Smith were allegedly driving drunk on Route 9 and crashed into a highway construction crew. The crash was at a high speed, and killed Gregory Vilidnitsky, an inspector for the state's Department of Transportation. Police and prosecutors say the two were drunk behind the wheel when they smashed into Vilidnisky and then into an oil truck. According to the prosecutor at arraignment, the two men admitted to drinking before driving. In fact, Smith admitted to police that he had consumed four to five jack and coke drinks, and felt intoxicated. The two then tried to run away but were apprehended by the construction crew and an officer on duty. Gardner and Smith are both carpenters who were staying at a hotel in Framingham.

The two men were arraigned in Framingham District Court on September 15, 2010. Both Gardner and Smith claim the other was the driver, and both pled not guilty to the various charges, including: Operating under the Influence (OUI) and Motor Vehicle Homicide. Gardner was ordered held in lieu of $100,000 cash bail, on charges of speeding, motor vehicle homicide and, if convicted, this would be his second OUI. Smith was ordered to be held in lieu of $50,000 cash bail. This is Smith's third OUI charge, and faces a significant sentence if convicted. The prosecutor explained, during arraignment, that a strong odor of alcohol emanated from both Gardner and Smith when apprehended, and they were glassy eyed.

These men are no strangers to a courtroom. Gardner has 11 convictions on his criminal record, including drug convictions and one for operating a car with a suspended license. Smith has two prior OUI convictions in Vermont. Under Megan's Law in Massachusetts, consecutive OUI convictions increase the sentences suspects face. According to Gardner's lawyer, the major question at trial will be who was driving, because that person will face more serious consequences.

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