Another Death, No Criminal Charges



Another Death, No Criminal Charges

Just weeks before Frank’s Ride is due to roll out, we get word that the driver responsible for another senseless death will not be facing criminal charges.  According to the Projo article:

A Westerly woman who struck and killed a University of Rhode Island student in Narragansett this past April has been cited for speeding and failing to stay in her travel lane, but she will not face criminal charges, investigators said today.

Gayle Cherenzia, of 1 Bayview Drive, Westerly, was traveling more than 50 mph in a zone posted for 30 just moments before she struck Mary Ellen Claire Offer, a 19-year-old art major from Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

Cherenzia, 53, had also veered into the breakdown lane where Offer and her 20-year-old URI roommate, Holly Maganzini, were walking.

But the infractions do not rise to the standard needed for criminal charges — “reckless disregard” or “heedless indifference” for the safety of others, and that means there will be no charges, said Michael J. Healey, spokesman for the attorney general’s office.

So what does it take to warrant criminal charges?  Is anyone reading this a lawyer who can point to a vehicular homicide that was actually prosecuted in RI?  As with Frank’s death, there is no talk of a license suspension.  However, you can rest better at night knowing that:

Offer and Maganzini had parked at the Overlook Professional Plaza on Boston Neck Road and were walking back to their car from a party when the accident occurred. Little said the town is looking at possible charges against the host or hosts of the party, which held was at 763 Boston Neck Road, according to Healey and Det. Lt. William McGovern.

What????  They don’t bring charges against the motorist who killed someone, yet they are looking to bring charges against the host of the party?  There is no mention of underage drinking on the part of the URI students, so why in the World would they bring charges against the party hosts?  From what they said, the URI students were walking along the road in a responsible manner.  Even if, and it’s a big if, they consumed some alcohol, it seemed to have no affect on their judgment and behavior.

Perhaps it’s time to go back to school and get a law degree.  Obviously, the DA’s office in RI could use some more help so they can actually prosecute some of these cases.

1 Comment

  • Barry
    Aug 29, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    Perhaps teh coming advocacy meeting should consider writing to the AGs office, indciating the seriousness of such ator-related deaths of bicyclsits and pedestrians, and ask if the law needs to be changed to enable appropriate criminal prosecution and/or license suspension.