Recently in Driving to Endanger Category

December 10, 2010

DUI Drivers Formally Charged with Motor Vehicle Homicide in the Death of Brockton State Trooper

Last week, a Grand Jury indicted Kenneth Weiand (43 of Walpole) and Anthony Perry Jr. (46 of Hyde Park) in the death of state police Sergeant Douglas A. Weddleton of Brockton. The accident occurred on June 18, around 1:15 a.m. Weddleton, a married father of four, was working a construction site detail along Interstate 95 in Mansfield.

Sgt. Weddleton parked his police cruiser along the off-ramp, in order to alert drivers and protect the construction crew. The police reported that Weiand attempted to drive his Acura around the blockade. Weddleton tried to pull him over to speak with him. While speaking with Weiand next to his vehicle, Perry crashed his Ford pickup truck into the back of the Acura at a high speed. As a result, Weddleton was pinned under the Acura, as it careened across the highway due to the force of being hit from behind. He was pronounced dead after being rushed to Sturdy Memorial Hospital in Attleboro.

An alcohol breathalyzer test on scene showed Weiand's blood-alcohol level at .20, significantly above the legal limit of .08. Perry registered a level of .07 at the scene, and a .06 at the police station after the accident. While Perry was driving at under the legal limit, a .07 is still enough to impair driving. The investigation showed that both men had prior motor vehicle offenses, mostly for speeding. Neither men had a previous drunk driving charge.

Evidence was presented to a Bristol County Grand Jury and they found enough to indict the two men with motor vehicle homicide. According to a spokesman for Bristol County District Attorney C. Samuel Sutter, it is not unusual to charge two different drivers with motor vehicle homicide in the same death. The indictments charge both men with "motor vehicle homicide while driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor and/or while driving negligently so as to endanger." The felony charge is the most serious motor vehicle homicide charge there is, and carries a maximum sentence, if convicted, of 15 years in prison. The two men will be arraigned later this month in Fall River Superior Court, and Assistant District Attorney Steve Gagne has been assigned to prosecute the case.

Weddleton's friends on the force said they were grateful for the D.A.'s office pursuing these charges, and praised the diligent work and investigation conducted by the state police.

Patriot Ledger Article on Motor Vehicle Homicide Charges

September 20, 2010

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

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.

2 Held in Death of Highway Worker

Two held on High Bail After Highway Workers Death in Framingham

September 15, 2010

Highway Engineer Killed After Truck Rams into Construction Crew. Drivers Face OUI and Motor Vehicle Homicide Charges.

Jeremy Gardner of Maine is facing a host of charges from the Middlesex District Attorney's Office, including: Operating Under the Influence (OUI) (this being his second offense); Motor Vehicle Homicide; Leaving the Scene of an Accident; and Operating to Endanger. The second suspect, Walter Smith, of Vermont, faces his third OUI charge, according to Cara O'Brien, spokewoman for the Middlesex DA's Office.

According to Police and prosecutors, a pickup truck drove into a state highway construction crew in the middle of a road resurfacing project taking place on Route 9. As a result of the crash, a highway engineer (whose name has not been disclosed) was killed. This accident occurred around 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 14th. At the time of the crash, the highway engineer was wearing yellow reflective gear.

Framingham Deputy Police Chief believes Gardner was driving drunk when he plowed into the construction crew. Following the crash, Gardner exited his pickup truck and tried to walk away, but he was apprehended by the construction crew. Then, Smith (passenger) allegedly moved into the drivers seat, shifted the pickup into reverse and tried to leave the scene. Smith was also apprehended by the construction crew and a Middlesex deputy sheriff who was on duty at the construction site. Police say the two men were staying at a nearby hotel.

The two suspects are scheduled to be arraigned later today, September 15, 2010 in Framingham District Court.

Worker Killed on Route 9 in Framingham

Two Face Drunken Driving Charges After Highway Workers Death in Framingham

June 8, 2010

Possession with Intent to Distribute within a School Zone

Elvis Colon, 33, was arrested for trafficking cocaine (28 grams or more), trafficking cocaine (28 grams or more) in a school zone.

Eliezer Montanez, 23, was arrested for possession of class D drug with intent to distribute, possession of class D drug with intent to distribute in a school zone, willful and malicious damage to property over $250, warrant for assault and battery, threatening to commit a crime.

Jose Roldan, 22, arrested for driving to endanger, failing to stop for police, speeding, failing to submit vehicle to state inspection, failure to stop at a stop sign, driving without a license, possession of a class A drug with intent to distribute, possession of a class A drug with intent to distribute in a school zone, driving without registration.

In Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 94C Section 32G, any "person who knowingly or intentionally creates, distributes, dispenses or possesses with intent to distribute or dispense a counterfeit substance" can be punished for up to one year in a jail or house of correction and/or with fines from $250 to $2,500.

However, this violation if taken place in a school zone carries heftier consequences. School zone, or school property, is defined as "in or on, or within 1000 feet" of any public or private accredited school, at any point in time. The law perceives a significant difference between charges of "possession with intent to distribute or dispense" and "possession with intent to distribute" in, on, or near school property.

According to Chapter 94C Section 32J, possession with intent to distribute in a school zone merits a sentence of two and a half years to fifteen years in a state prison, or a sentence of two years in a jail. Fines range from $1000 to $10,000 dollars on top of the mandatory minimum two year prison sentence.

That's a difference of $750-$7500 in fines and a discrepancy of twelve or more years in jail or even state prison.

Lowell Sun, June 8th, 2010 Arrest Log

Please contact the established criminal defense lawyers at Parker Scheer, if you or someone you know needs representation in a drug possession and intent to distribute case.