Truck driver who fled fatal crash not charged
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.
To whom should I address my outrage at this? It’s OK to run over someone and leave the scene of the crime!? Seriously, is this something that the BCU can coalesce cyclists’ anger around and influence our legislators to change the laws?
Fair reporting would have stated whether witnesses saw the cyclist approaching the truck within the truck’s right-side blind spot, like had been reported. Available eye witness accounts might have been included.
The driver of a large, rattling garbage truck may have received any signal that he had collided with a bicycle. Readers of the Bicyclists’ Union webpage probably want first to learn basic facts before getting into advocacy-tinged content.
Sigh…Quentin’s comment shows the ignorance of most citizens. Grand jury does not determine guilt. Grand jury should only look at probable cause. The law clearly says that right turning vehicles must yield to cyclists going straight. No one, including the truck driver, disputes that fact that the truck hit and kill the cyclist. Blind spot or not, there is obviously probable cause to indict. It’s up to the trial jury to decide whether a blind spot was involved and if a blind spot was involved, whether the truck driver who obviously broke the law should be held accountable. The grand jury in this case clearly miscarried justice.
The real tragedy is that drivers don’t treat cyclists with the same level of respect that they treat other drivers. Motorcycles are abused as well. For some reason people act like animals when they are in the safety of their car. They feel entitled and the importance of arriving at their destination on time takes precedent over all other things. The actions that good, normally reasonable people take when behind the wheel is outrageous. Aggressive honking, swerving to intimidate other drivers and shouting are common. I guarantee most of these drivers are respectful decent people when not hiding behind their 4000 pound cage.
We don’t have all the details, so I won’t pass judgement, but my heart goes out to the cyclist’s family and the driver, who has to live with his mistake forever. I’m assuming based on the grand jury’s failure to indict, that the driver had no idea what happened. But again, only he knows that answer.
Of course the driver of the truck was not charged. People that are in their 60’s 70’s and 80’s are the idiots that run this magnificent country. Once the old people are gone and only then will the laws be changed. OLD PEOPLE SUCK! Rock on my friends, Love BF
Regardless of these supposed facts this case should have gone to trial. Whether or not he was found guilty is another issue. To completely disregard this and pretend there is not enough evidence to take to trial is ridiculous. Let the facts and truth come out in a trial. This is a mis-justice and just another sign that cyclists are not treated equally in the eye of the law.
It seems that right hand turns are inherently dangerous and problematic. As a long-time driver and cyclist, i feel that the laws of gravity make it far simpler for a cyclists to slow than a quick-moving vehicle in the midst of a right turn. I think a lot of the aggression displayed by both types of commuters stems from entrenched beliefs- rail as you may, some folks will not back down. Intentional or not, some right-turning vehicles will never yield to cyclists.
Here is a proposal- how about a well-publicized concession from the biking community stating that bikers will yield to right turning vehicles. Let’s remove the flashpoint!! We can eliminate a dilemma and take away some of the tension. Common sense tells me that, at times, i must make some concessions. The beauty of biking, for me, is that it allows me to go places that are otherwise inaccessible by foot or motorized vehicle. To maintain that freedom, i think yielding to a vehicle that can kill you is reasonable. Of course, you always have the option of playing chicken with the knuckle-dragging driver of a multi-ton dumptruck. Let’s learn from our shared intransigence. I echo dakota martin’s condolences.