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Leonardo Angiulo: When a Car Accident Isn’t Just an Accident

Monday, April 07, 2014

 

How can you tell the difference between a car accident and criminal conduct?

From time to time we see news stories involving serious car accidents. It could be a http://www.golocalworcester.com/news/new-winter-weather-advisory-in-effect-sunday-night-into-monday/" target="_blank">massive pile up on I-290 because of winter weather or maybe it's just circumstances that cause http://www.golocalworcester.com/news/most-dangerous-intersections-in-new-england1/ " target="_blank">frequent collisions in certain locations. Still other times it's a person alleged to be under the influence of alcohol failing to keep their car under control that draws media attention.

It is easy to believe we can tell the difference between a car accident and criminal conduct. Are you driving to work in the morning and hit a patch of ice that sends you into a telephone pole? Simple accident, we're sure. How about driving home from the bar and the same thing happens? Popular belief might say this second situation is a one way ticket to the back of a police cruiser. What if you are driving to work, you're late, you're driving too fast and the telephone pole meets your car? What then?

Accidents where the driver is allegedly operating under the influence are readily identified as criminal. https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXIV/Chapter90/Section24 " target="_blank">Massachusetts General Laws chapter 90, section 24 is maybe one of the longest statutes on the books today and defines a number of offenses including first as well as subsequent offenses of OUI. There are also several other related crimes including https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXIV/Chapter90/Section24L" target="_blank">causing serious bodily injury while OUI, Child Endangerment while OUI , and Homicide by motor vehicle.

A more difficult question is presented when there is car crash without any alcohol being involved. There is no question that sometimes things happen and it's not a crime. In that situation, the only consequence may be a civil suit between the parties where the person injured is compensated for the injuries caused by the operator's negligent driving.

In other situations, a person may be criminally liable if their behavior can be characterized as either criminally negligent or http://www.mass.gov/courts/docs/courts-and-judges/courts/district-court/jury-instructions-criminal/5260-operating-recklessly.pdf " target="_blank">criminally reckless. Importantly, it's not just the collision that turns a situation into a crime. As the jury instructions for both offenses point out, there are additional facts that the Commonwealth http://www.mass.gov/courts/docs/courts-and-judges/courts/district-court/jury-instructions-criminal/2160-presumption-of-innocence-burden-of-proof-unanimity.pdf " target="_blank">must prove beyond a reasonable doubt to secure a conviction. Those factors include, but are not limited to, rate of speed, the condition of their vehicle, weather related road conditions or the actions of any other vehicles and pedestrians.

As always, every case is different. Exactly where the line is between criminal and civil consequences for car accidents can't be defined for sure ahead of time. One sure way to leave this question in your rear view mirror is to avoid a crash in the first place.

 

Leonardo Angiulo is an Attorney with the firm of Glickman, Sugarman, Kneeland & Gribouski in Worcester handling legal matters across the Commonwealth. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

 

Related Slideshow: 60 Most Dangerous Intersections in New England - 2014

Using the most recent available data, GoLocalWorcester has compiled a list of the Most Dangerous Intersections in New England.

See the methodology here

Since different states chose different time spans in which to accumulate their data (3-10 years), GoLocal standardized the tallies to a 3-year sum.

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#60

Seymour, CT

Rt. 8 Mile Marker 18.58-18.81

Total Crashes: 11

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 5

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 6

Source: CT DOT

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#59

Wethersfield, CT

Rt. 287 Mile Marker 1.58 (Near Rte 287 + Merritt Parkway)

Total Crashes: 22

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 6

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 16

Source: CT DOT

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#58

Vernon, CT

Rt. 83 Mile Marker 11.80-11.89 (Route 83 + Route 30)

Total Crashes: 25

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 7

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 18

Source: CT DOT

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#57

Hudson, NH

NH 111 (Ferry St.) + NH 3A (Chester St./Derry Rd.)

Total Crashes: 27.6

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 7.5

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 20.1

Source: NH DOT

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#56

Tilton, NH

US 3 (Laconia Rd.) + NH 140 (Tilton Rd.)/1-93 NB Ex 20 Ramps)

Total Crashes: 20.7

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 8.7

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 12

Source: NH DOT

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#55

Nashua, NH

Main St. + Canal St./Franklin St.

Total Crashes: 24.6

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 9.3

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 15.3

Photo: Flickr/Bettyx1138

Source: NH DOT

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#54

Nashua, NH

Main St. + NH 111 (Spring St./Kinsley St.)

Total Crashes: 23.1

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 9.6

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 13.5

Source: NH DOT

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#53

Salem, NH

NH 28 (N/S Broadway) + NH 38/NH 97 (Main St.)

Total Crashes: 22.5

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 10.2

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 12.3

Source: NH DOT

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#52

Bridgeport, CT

Rt. 127 Mile Marker 1.02 (Rte 127 + Stillman St)

Total Crashes: 18

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 11

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 7

Source: CT DOT

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#51

Concord, NH

NH 9 (Loudon Rd.) + D'Amante Dr. (Steeplegate Mall)

Total Crashes: 21.6

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 10.5

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 11.1

Source: NH DOT

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#50

Williston, VT

94 US-2 + VT-2A

Total Crashes: 43.8

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 8.4

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 38.4

Source: VT DOT

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#49

Manchester, NH

Bridge St. + NH 285 (Beech St.)

Total Crashes: 20.7

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 12.6

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 8.1

Source: NH DOT

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#48

Concord, NH

NH 9 (Loudon Rd.) + Fort Eddy Rd./I-93 NB Ex 14 Off-Ramp

Total Crashes: 29.4

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 11.7

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 17.7

Source: NH DOT

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#47

Berlin, VT

23 VT-62 + Berlin State Highway: Fisher Rd.

Total Crashes: 37.2

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 10.2

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 30

Source: VT DOT

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#46

Bridgeport, CT

Rt. 127 Mile Marker .64 (Rte 127 + Barnum Ave)

Total Crashes: 31

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 12

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 19

Source: CT DOT

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#45

Nashua, NH

Main St. + East Hollis St./West Hollis St.

Total Crashes: 24.9

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 14.1

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 10.8

Source: NH DOT

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#44

Burlington, VT

11 US-7 + Main St., US-2

Total Crashes: 49.2

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 10.2

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 42

Source: VT DOT

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#43

Waterbury, CT

Rt. 69 Mile Marker 18.39-18.49

Total Crashes: 55

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 14

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 41

Source: CT DOT

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#42

Portland, ME

Fort Ave., Hartley St. + Forest Ave., Holly St.

Total Crashes: 45

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 21

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 23

Source: ME DOT

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#41

Portland, ME

Fore River Pkwy. + Valley St., W. Commercial St.

Total Crashes: 64

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 18

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 46

Source: ME DOT

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#40

Manchester, NH

NH 285 (Beech St.) + Cilley Rd.

Total Crashes: 20.4

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 23.4

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 8.7

Source: NH DOT

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#39

Portland, ME

Allen Ave., Entrance to McDonalds + Z Rd., Forest Ave.

Total Crashes: 58

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 20

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 38

Source: ME DOT

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#38

Westbrook, ME

Cumberland St. + Warren Ave.

Total Crashes: 83

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 17

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 66

Source: ME DOT

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#37

Wallingford, CT

Rt. 5 Mile Marker 9.35-9.36

Total Crashes: 51

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 22

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 29

Source: CT DOT

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#36

Berkshire, VT

4 FAS 0302, FAS 0307 + Town Rd. 0004

Total Crashes: 3.6

Fatal Crashes: 0.6

Injury Crashes: 3.6

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 0.6

Source: VT DOT

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#35

Williston, VT

67 US-2 + Industrial Ave.

Total Crashes: 20.4

Fatal Crashes: 0.6

Injury Crashes: 3

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 18

Photo: Flickr/Craig O'Neal

Source: VT DOT

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#34

Augusta, ME

Memorial Circle + Western Ave.

Total Crashes: 107

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 19

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 88

Source: ME DOT

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#33

Burlington, VT

35 Main St. + St. Paul St.

Total Crashes: 18

Fatal Crashes: 0.6

Injury Crashes: 4.8

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 13.2

Source: VT DOT

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#32

Hartford, VT

7 US-5 + VT-14, US-4

Total Crashes: 31.8

Fatal Crashes: 0.6

Injury Crashes: 3.6

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 28.2

Source: VT DOT

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#31

Burlington, VT

5 Colchester Ave. + Barrett St.

Total Crashes: 20.4

Fatal Crashes: 0.6

Injury Crashes: 5.4

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 15

Source: VT DOT

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#30

Augusta, ME

Bangor St. + Cony Circle, Cony St.

Total Crashes: 126

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 19

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 106

Photo: Flickr/Peter Gene

Source: ME DOT

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#29

Winooski City, VT

2 US-7, E. Canal St. + W. Allen St., VT-15, W. Center St.

Total Crashes: 103.2

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 22.8

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 86.4

Source: VT DOT

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#28

Augusta, ME

Ramp off to Western Ave. + Western Ave.

Total Crashes: 99

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 26

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 73

Source: ME DOT

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#27

Lowell, MA

Bridge St. + Veterans of Foreign Wars Highway

Total Crashes: 112

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 34

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 78

Photo: Flickr/Peter Gene

Source: MA DOT

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#26

Hartford, CT

Rt. 44 Mile Marker 53.63 (Route 44 & Main St)

Total Crashes: 129

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 38

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 91

Source: CT DOT

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#25

Holyoke, MA

Holyoke St. + Holyoke Mall at Ingleside

Total Crashes: 198

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 29

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 169

Source: MA DOT

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#24

Lowell, MA

Veterans of Foreign Wars Highway + Varnum Ave.

Total Crashes: 165

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 37

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 128

Source: MA DOT

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#23

Lewiston, ME

Old Greene Rd. + Randall Rd., Sabattus St.

Total Crashes: 33

Fatal Crashes: 1

Injury Crashes: 9

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 23

Photo: Flickr/Perthhdproductions

Source: ME DOT

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#22

Bangor, ME

Broadway, Hobart St. + Broadway, Burleigh Rd., Griffin Rd.

Total Crashes: 33

Fatal Crashes: 1

Injury Crashes: 13

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 19

Photo: Flickr/Ajimaxx

Source: ME DOT

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#21

Rutland City, VT

47 US-7 + US-4

Total Crashes: 40.2

Fatal Crashes: 1.2

Injury Crashes: 6

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 35.4

Photo: Flickr/Doug Kerr

Source: VT DOT

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#20

Cambridge, MA

Massachusetts Ave. + Vassar St.

Total Crashes: 41

Fatal Crashes: 1

Injury Crashes: 19

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 21

Photo: Flickr/The_th

Source: MA DOT

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#19

Worcester, MA

Main St. + Mill St.

Total Crashes: 53

Fatal Crashes: 1

Injury Crashes: 18

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 34

Photo: Flickr/jburwen

Source: MA DOT

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#18

Holyoke, MA

Main St. + Cabot St.

Total Crashes: 57

Fatal Crashes: 1

Injury Crashes: 18

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 38

Photo: Flickr/Nanypinya

Source: MA DOT

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#17

Waltham, MA

Main St. + Lyman St.

Total Crashes: 73

Fatal Crashes: 1

Injury Crashes: 18

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 54

Source: MA DOT

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#16

Bridgton, ME

Portland Rd., Willis Park Rd. + Portland Rd., Sandy Creek Rd.

Total Crashes: 20

Fatal Crashes: 2

Injury Crashes: 6

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 12

Photo: Flickr/gillicious

Source: ME DOT

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#15

Lincoln, RI

Interstate 295 + Exit 9 (RI 146)

Total Crashes: 160

Fatal Crashes: 1

Injury Crashes: 36

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 123

Photo: Flickr/Doug Kerr

Source: RI DOT

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#14

Stoughton, MA

Canton St. + School St.

Total Crashes: 39

Fatal Crashes: 2

Injury Crashes: 10

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 27

Photo: Flickr/Peter Gene

Source: MA DOT

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#13

Chelsea, MA

Revere Beach Pkwy. + Washington Ave.

Total Crashes: 39

Fatal Crashes: 2

Injury Crashes: 11

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 26

Photo: Flickr/Bettyx1138

Source: MA DOT

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#12

Warwick, RI

RI 37 + US 1 (Post Rd.)

Total Crashes: 293

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 69

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 224

Photo: Flickr/eliduke

Source: RI DOT

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#11

North Smithfield, RI

RI 146 + Sayles Hill Rd.

Total Crashes: 193

Fatal Crashes: 1

Injury Crashes: 37

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 155

Source: RI DOT

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#10

Warwick, RI

Interstate 95 + Exit 14 (RI 37)/Exit 15 (Jefferson Blvd.)

Total Crashes: 181

Fatal Crashes: 1

Injury Crashes: 50

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 130

Photo: Flickr/ER24 EMS (Pty) Ltd.

Source: RI DOT

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#9

Johnston, RI

Interstate 295 + Exit 6 (US 6/US 6A)

Total Crashes: 179

Fatal Crashes: 1

Injury Crashes: 54

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 124

Photo: Flickr/Doug Kerr

Source: RI DOT

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#8

Cranston, RI

RI 2 Reservoir Ave. + RI 12 (Park Ave.)

Total Crashes: 234

Fatal Crashes: 1

Injury Crashes: 47

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 186

Source: RI DOT

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#7

Hopkinton, RI

RI 138 (Spring St.) + Wincheck Pond Rd. to Soap House Ln.

Total Crashes: 4

Fatal Crashes: 3

Injury Crashes: 0

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 1

Source: RI DOT

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#6

Middletown, CT

Rt. 17 Mile Marker 21.55-22.14

Total Crashes: 372

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 107

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 265

Source: CT DOT

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#5

Charlestown, RI

US Post Rd. SB + Kings Factory Rd. to RI 216 (Ross Hill Rd.)

Total Crashes: 51

Fatal Crashes: 3

Injury Crashes: 8

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 40

Source: RI DOT

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#4

Providence, RI

Interstate 95 + Exit 18 (Thurbers Ave.)

Total Crashes: 296

Fatal Crashes: 1

Injury Crashes: 79

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 216

Source: RI DOT

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#3

Somerville, MA

Mystic Ave. + Fellsway

Total Crashes: 91

Fatal Crashes: 3

Injury Crashes: 24

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 64

Source: MA DOT

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#2

Pawtucket, RI

Interstate 95 + Exit 29 (US 1/Broadway/Cottage St.)

Total Crashes: 191

Fatal Crashes: 2

Injury Crashes: 55

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 134

Source: RI DOT

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#1

New Haven, CT

Merritt Parkway Mile Marker 46.42-47.03

Total Crashes: 561

Fatal Crashes: 0

Injury Crashes: 125

Crashes with Property Damage Only: 436

Source: CT DOT

 
 

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