Another Massachusetts grand jury has refused to indict a truck driver for running over a cyclist, preventing any criminal trial for 41-year-old Ricky Prezioso who ran over 30-year-old Eoin McGrory on April 3 in Charlestown’s Sullivan Square. The development recalls the case of Alexander Motsenigos in 2013, wh
ere a grand jury seemed to ignore a mountain of evidence.
Police had to track Prezioso down through witness accounts of the garbage truck he was driving, and charged him with “leaving the scene of an accident causing death,” but a Suffolk County grand jury did not find probable cause to indict.
Grand juries continue to be used only in the United States and individual states use them in different ways. Some states have effectively abolished them in favor of other types of preliminary hearings. They have been criticized as an inefficient use of the court’s time, but also because they appear to be easily swayed by the disposition of the prosecutor. It is also said that grand jury members often misunderstand their purpose as determining guilt, rather than their intended purpose: to determine whether or not there is probable cause to believe that someone committed a certain offense.
In order to indict in Massachusetts, a case must go before a grand jury.
In Prezioso’s case, the Suffolk County DA’s office offered more detail than is normal in their press release, perhaps in an effort to show that they earnestly tried to win an indictment.
“Suffolk prosecutors introduced 19 physical exhibits and testimony from seven witnesses, including percipient witnesses and Boston Police officers, to the Grand Jury as part of the investigation,” spokesman Jake Wark said in the release. “In light of the grand jury’s decision, prosecutors are essentially left without a criminal case.”
Now that the grand jury investigation is over, prosecutors gave the investigative file to McGrory’s family to use in the event they want to file a civil suit.
The McGrory tragedy has also sparked a number of campaigns to prevent further crashes like his. The Bike Union has been working with side guards expert Alex Epstein to spark interest in a new city ordinance that would require all trucks contracting with the city have sideguards—modeled on a similar requirement currently being implemented for trash hauling trucks. A fact sheet on the effort is also being drawn up to help bring state legislators up to speed on developments in the field.
At Sullivan Square where McGrory was killed, the City of Boston is planning a number of improvements to help prevent future crashes.
“We are adding bike lanes and sharrows and signage to the area, including pavement markings for the entire (circular) square,” said Boston Bikes Czar Nicole Freedman.
The Boston Transportation Department has long-term plan as well. An award winning redesign is sitting on the shelf that would fully reconstruct the area into a group of regular intersections, help organize traffic, and add better bikeways, including a shared use path alongside Rutherford Ave.
As of yet that project is not fully funded, and it may be altered to account for potential impacts from the Wynn Resorts Casino proposal in nearby Everett. The added traffic from the casino could degrade conditions for cyclists and pedestrians by influencing the city to keep an underpass on Rutherford Avenue at Austin Street, though many in the neighborhood would oppose such a change.
To help preserve the plan, advocates in Charlestown are rallying this week to support the Mayor’s call to delay a license hearing on the proposed casino until after a Ballot Initiative to repeal gambling in Massachusetts is voted on in the fall. The hearing is tomorrow Wed., July 2, 10:30am at Bunker Hill Community College Theatre (Room A300), and is being held by the Mass Gaming Commission.