Grand Jury: No criminal charges in fatal Wellesley cycling accident

Motsenigos memorial WellesleyThe Wellesley Police Department reported Monday that the grand jury examining the road accident last August that killed Wellesley cyclist Alex Motsenigos will not indict the driver of the 18-wheel dump trailer that struck the cyclist on Weston Road. The driver was identified as Dana McCoomb, of East Wareham, who was driving a vehicle for a Cambridge trucking company at the time of the incident.

You can read the police report here (parts 1, 2, 3), though be warned that it’s graphic and upsetting.

In the report, McCoomb tells investigators that he had heard about the incident but “I didn’t hit him, that’s for sure. I know damn well I didn’t…”

Investigators grilled McCoomb on his past driving record as well as whether there was any chance he intentionally hit the cyclist (they tried to determine if Motsenigos had in any way angered the driver by the way he was operating his 2-month-old bicycle). According to the police report, McCoomb’s driving record is beyond checkered: 19 license suspensions over the past 30 or so years; six surchargeable accidents; and several moving violations.  While the driving record could be used by investigators to determine probable cause, the record was not admissible as evidence during grand jury proceedings.

According to a statement by WPD:

The Wellesley Police Department in conjunction with the Massachusetts State Police and the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office recently completed an exhaustive and thorough investigation into a motor vehicle crash which resulted in the tragic death of a cyclist, Alexander Motsenigos a 41 year old Wellesley resident.  This crash occurred on Friday, August 24, 2012 at 1:58 p.m. on Weston Road near the intersection of Linden Street. 

Investigators spent over 3 months and countless hours indentifying and interviewing witnesses, reviewing and processing substantial amounts of evidence that was recovered at the scene and on the truck involved in the crash, executed multiple search warrants, completed a systematic accident reconstruction which included consulting with experts in the trucking field to conduct a simulation of the crash.

Throughout the investigation and at the conclusion investigators from the Wellesley Police Department, the Massachusetts State Police and prosecutors from the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office reviewed the findings of the investigation in a collaborative manner.  There was clear consensus at the conclusion of the investigation that probable cause existed to seek complaints against the driver of the 18 wheel semi-tractor trailer dump truck involved in the crash for the following:

M.G.L. c90§24G (b) Motor Vehicle Homicide by Negligent Operation

M.G.L. c90§14 Precautions for the Safety of Other Travelers

M.G.L. c89§2 Unsafe Overtaking of a Bicyclist

The case was presented to the Norfolk County Grand Jury by the District Attorney’s Office in early December.  Due to the complexity of the case, testimony from a number of investigators and witnesses was heard during the course of several days.  Additionally, over 50 evidence exhibits were submitted to the grand jury. The process concluded on December 13, 2012.  After hearing the testimony by the investigators and witnesses involved in the case, reviewing the accident reconstruction data, viewing the photographs and videos depicting the evidence as well as the simulation of the crash the grand jury did not return a true bill on any of the charges brought before them for consideration.

Law enforcement has reviewed the matter and, after conferring with the district attorneys office and the victims’ family, has determined no further options appear available to pursue criminal charges. The criminal investigation has therefore concluded and the file closed.

RELATED: Firm launches annual innovation award to honor Motsenigos

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6 Comments

  1. Katie
    Posted February 7, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Like others I am sad for the family.

    The evidence appears to be extremely solid. How could the Grand Jury have come to this conclusion? Something else not reported?

    Now I’ll be very wary of riding my bike on Weston Rd; to be scared on your own neighborhood road is a sad commentary.

  2. Mike
    Posted February 7, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    The WHDH full 16 second video is damning. For the truck driver to turn left off of Rt 135 with the cyclist in plain view in front of him and try to pass in the short distance between the top of the bridge and the “squeeze” where the road narrows and bends was beyond reckless. That video is enough to convince me about the two lesser charges. The video coupled with the bad driving record, although inadmissable, would be compelling with respect to the vehicular homicide charge. In my opinion this was clearly a criminal act. If the jury ever rode a bicycle through that intersection they would understand.

  3. Brian
    Posted February 5, 2013 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    How/why was the driving record of the truck operator not allowed to be heard by the grand jury? Because none of the charges being filed had previously occurred? If the operator had previously found to violate/commit any of the three leveled charged would the record then be admissible? Was the driving record deemed prejudicial and thus not allowed? Seems to me that in a case of vehicular infractions, any previous infractions should be brought to light, but then perhaps that clouds the jury who is only supposed to base their decisions on the incident in question.

    I’m no lawyer, but…

  4. Al Wiegman
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    This is pathetic, the driver’s record is horrendous yet our court system is so biased against cyclists it can’t muster any kind of rational judgement in this case. It is a sad commentary on society, shame on our judicial system.

  5. D. Nallathamby
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    The wheels of justice turn ever so slowly making it a second sentence for the family concerned, especially when justice is not always served due to the complexity of the case and available evidence. There are no winners and it is difficult to move on when there is no closure. My empathy to the aggrieved family.

  6. Brad Neighbors
    Posted February 4, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    I live near this corner, and this saddens me.
    Not even reckless endangerment? Nothing to send a signal to drivers that this intersection is dangerous and they need to slow down?. Very sad for the victim’s family.

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