Pamela Balsamo was arraigned yesterday in the Berkshire Superior Court in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. She has been charged with Motor Vehicle Homicide. Police allege that Balsamo was driving south in the northbound lane of a rural road in Berkshire County when she struck a car being driven by Erin Dufour, another Massachusetts resident. Dufour died at the scene. The accident occurred on March 18, 2009 shortly after 8:00 in the evening. At that time Dufour was driving a Honda. Balsamo was driving a 2002 Mercedes. Balsamo was hospitalized as a result of this accident.
Motor Vehicle Homicide in Massachusetts can be charged either as a felony or a misdemeanor. In this case it was charged as a felony. The defendant faces a maximum state prison sentence of fifteen years. She also faces a minimum mandatory one year sentence in this case. There are very few articles online that discuss this case. Nowhere is Balsamo’s blood alcohol level disclosed. This is somewhat odd in that she was taken to the hospital where it is likely that blood was drawn and toxicological tests conducted. There are no articles or press releases that show the results of the accident reconstruction conducted by the police. Often times the strength of the district attorney’s case in motor vehicle homicide prosecutions rests on the strength of the accident reconstruction. Naturally, eyewitness accounts will factor heavily into this equation. I would be interested in learning more about the facts that support the district attorney’s theory of this case.