Last week police in West Tisbury, Massachusetts responded to a motor vehicle crash scene after receiving information that there was an accident with serious injuries. They arrived to find Jena Pothier pinned to the front passenger seat wearing a seatbelt. The suspected driver, Kelly McCarron was found lying in the road having been ejected from the car. Police stated that speed and alcohol were factors in the crash. Witnesses to the crash said that McCarron was operating at a high rate of speed and attempting to pass a car in front of her despite a car in the oncoming lane. Pothier had just completed her first year of college. McCarron had just graduated from Martha’s Vineyard High School. McCarron has been charged with several motor vehicle infractions and crimes, the most serious being DUI, Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle, Motor Vehicle Homicide OUI and OUI with Serious Bodily Injury. Police have not ruled other charges out of the realm of possibility.
Anytime there is a motor vehicle accident involving alcohol in Massachusetts and someone is killed you can bet that serious criminal charges will issue. In cases such as this one there are two important aspects to the district attorney’s investigation that will dictate how this case is prosecuted. The first is the manner of operation of the vehicle being driven by the defendant. The more egregious this activity the more severe the charges. Police in this case have left open the possibility of additional charges against McCarron. One of these could be OUI Manslaughter. That crime would require a minimum mandatory five year state prison sentence. The statute authorizes a twenty year state prison sentence. The second component guiding how this case will be charged is the defendant’s blood alcohol level at the time of operation. Whenever someone suspected of drunk driving is hospitalized as a result of injuries medical personnel will take a blood test. A toxicology screen will be performed determining the level of alcohol in the person’s system at the time of the test. This case be challenged depending on the time and manner of testing. This is discussed some of my in other blog posts dealing with the proper method of blood testing for the presence of alcohol and extrapolation of the reading. If the alcohol level was high and the manner of operation was extreme you might see additional charges issue.