Motorist acquitted in fatal crash case

WESTFIELD – An East Longmeadow man was acquitted Thursday in Westfield District Court of a charge of vehicular homicide by negligent operation.
The case began July 9, 2011, when vehicles operated by Dean A. Carbone Jr., 41, of 38 Primrose St., East Longmeadow and William C. Brown, 70, of 6 Joseph Ave., collided on East Mountain Road.
The case was initially investigated as a typical personal injury accident by Officer Seth Florek who concluded that Carbone’s vehicle had crossed the center line of the roadway and entered the path of the Brown’s vehicle and he could not avoid a head-on collision.
When Brown died three days later of injuries sustained in the crash, the complexion of the accident changed so an attempt was made to reconstruct the accident by a trooper attached to the State Police Collision and Accident Reconstruction Section.
In his initial investigation of what appeared to be a typical collision, Florek had not photographed the vehicles and the accident scene nor had he marked the roadway to indicate where the vehicles had came to rest, thus complicating the reconstruction of the crash.
As the case continued the defense maintained that crucial evidence was not preserved, claiming in a motion that “Officer Florek failed to photograph the scene. He failed to take photographs of the vehicles in their final resting positions or take the necessary measurements needed to undertake an accident reconstruction.”
A resident of the area did make photographs of the vehicles after they had come to rest and offered them to police but, the defense maintained, “Officer (Michael) Gamache had received photographs and other evidence that Dean Carbone’s automobile never left the southbound lane on 1925 East Mountain Road, Westfield, Massachusetts. The Officer withheld this information from Trooper David C. Sanford, the Commonwealth’s accident reconstructionist.”
Judge Rita S. Koenigs determined “Officer Gamache, was on vacation, and did not receive the emailed photos until well after the State police had completed their work.”
She wrote “The court finds that the photos were not deliberately withheld … and they did not changed (sic) the opinion of the collision reconstruction specialist.”
The defense maintained that the photographs which had not been provided to Sanford “clearly show that Mr. Carbone’s final resting place was in the Southbound Lane (his lane of travel) and that the alleged victim’s car, Mr. Brown, was over the center line smashed into Mr. Carbone’s automobile.”
The defense contracted an independent collision reconstruction specialist who refuted the State Police expert’s opinion claiming that the State Police reconstruction was fatally flawed by the three-day delay, the absence of photographs and records of the positions of the vehicles after they came to rest and the absence of the civilian photos which did show the vehicles in their final resting places.
After the crash, Brown had told Florek that Carbone’s vehicle had crossed the center line, causing the crash.
Trial Judge William O’Grady allowed a motion to exclude Brown’s statements as he could not be cross-examined by the defense.
Brown’s excluded statement had been refuted when his 12-year-old son was questioned at the ‘show cause’ hearing to determine if any charges were justified.
The boy repeatedly and unequivocally stated that his father’s vehicle had not crossed the center line and was in the right hand lane at the time of the crash.
In response to questions, the boy said that his father had not been using a phone nor had he been playing the radio before the crash.
While the criminal case was pending, Carbone’s wife, Patricia A. Carbone, filed a civil claim on behalf of her two sons against both her husband and Brown’s estate alleging that both had been negligent.
The two boys, aged seven and twelve, had been in the vehicle with their father and had sustained injuries. That case was settled by financial concessions from both Carbone’s insurance company and from Brown’s estate.
The criminal case was complicated by the civil case because Carbone’s original criminal lawyer, Shawn A. Allyn, had represented Carbone’s wife in the civil case. The apparent conflict resulted in the revocation of his appointment as counsel for the criminal case although Judge Philip A. Contant allowed him to retain a limited advisory role in the defense.
Alleyn came under substantial public criticism because of the two cases after he became a candidate for the Democratic nomination for Hampden County District Attorney.
The case ultimately came to trial Thursday before O’Grady and the jury unanimously found Carbone not guilty.

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