April 26, 2016
Massachusetts State Trooper Killed in Car Crash
Massachusetts State Trooper Killed in Car Crash. Car collisions account for more than 30,000 deaths per year in the United States, with at least 300 of those occurring in Massachusetts. Unfortunately, even those who work to protect citizens from the risks of car crashes are not safe. Early this year, Massachusetts State Trooper Thomas Clardy died as a result of a car crash with a speeding vehicle while working an “accident incident reduction shift” designed to prevent car crashes. Clardy was pulled over on the side of the road around noon on Wednesday, March 16 for a routine traffic stop when another car crashed into his vehicle.
David Njuguna was driving his Nissan Maxima well above the speed limit in the left lane and swerved right across all three traffic lanes, striking Clardy’s car while he was still inside. The Massachusetts Turnpike was closed to allow Flight for Life helicopters to land, but Clardy’s traumatic injuries were too severe. The U.S. Marine Corps veteran was survived by his wife and six children. Njuguna was charged with negligent operation of a motor vehicle and failing to stay within marked lanes. These offenses can be different from a run of the mill speeding ticket, and it is important to know the details if you have been charged with one of them.
Failing to Stay Within Marked Lanes
This offense less serious, as it is a civil motor vehicle infraction (CMVI) rather than a criminal violation, but it is still important to consider the negative impacts of such a charge. Massachusetts law states that when any road is divided into lanes, a driver must remain within a single lane until determining that movement into another lane can be done safely. Other CMVIs include speeding, lights violations like broken headlights or taillights, or improper passing in a lane. If you are cited for a CMVI, you may either pay a fine or request a civil hearing before the court if you wish to dispute the charges. CMVIs may result in consequences like fines, increased insurance costs, and even suspension of your driver’s license.
Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle
Negligent operation of a motor vehicle is a more serious offense. This is not just a general CMVI or standard traffic ticket, it is a criminal offense, listed in the same section of Massachusetts statutes as driving while under the influence of alcohol. Negligent operation of a motor vehicle involves endangering the lives or safety of the public by failing to follow proper safety procedures and rules of the road.
Negligence occurs when a person acts or drives in a way that a reasonable person would not do and thus created an unnecessary danger to other people that could have been avoided by more careful and prudent driving. Punishments for this offense include larger fines than for CMVIs, suspension or revocation of your driver’s license, and up to two years in jail. Because this is a criminal charge, this may appear on your criminal offender record information (CORI) and allow potential employers or landlords to see your information unless you request that they be sealed.
Have You Been Involved in a Car Accident?
If you have been involved in a car accident and charged with a CMVI or a more serious criminal offense, it is extremely important to consult with an experienced attorney to help you keep your license and avoid a potential jail sentence. Call New Bedford attorney Paul Santos at 508-996-0941 or contact me online for a free initial consultation to review your case.