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Outcome of August Hit-and-Run in Wellesley Angers Cycling Community

Before the crash, Patch readers voted the Weston Road-Linden Street intersection one of the most dangerous in Wellesley.

 

A Massachusetts grand jury returned no indictments against truck driver Dana McCoomb in the Weston Road hit-and-run from last year. The Boston Globe reports that the area cycling community is reacting with anger to this case.

During the trial, Wellesley Police Chief Terrence Cunningham tells the Globe he got the impression that one juror did not understand that, in this situation, the driver of the truck was obligated to yield to the cyclist.

“Personally, I don’t feel they [the grand jury] followed the law,” Chief Cunningham said to the Globe. “But that’s the process.”

Warning against speculating on the jury's decision, Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey added that he thinks there may be an overall bias against cyclists, although he is not certain whether that was a factor in this case.

In addition to a perceived bias, cyclists also have to contend with safety issues.

A cyclist, , “We’re vulnerable out there, these cars are 2,000 pounds.”

See the full story on the Boston Globe

In September, Boston Magazine also said "There has to be some accountability." Word is that the victim's family intends to file a civil suit.

The case comes from last August, when Wellesley cyclist Alexander Motsenigos lost his life after being struck by a passing truck on a summer afternoon, at the intersection of Linden Street and Weston Road. Motsenigos, 41, was wearing a helmet at the time of the crash, but sustained life-threatening injuries and was transported to Newton-Wellesley Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police also investigated the scene for more than a month afterward, with the intent of bringing charges against the driver. Over the course of several days of testimony and reports of witnesses, the grand jury elected not to indict.

A memorial was set up at the site during the week following the crash, and passing cyclists and fellow Pan-Mass Challenge riders stopped to pay their respects to Motsenigos. A Ghost Bike memorial was also briefly put in place at the scene. 

In July, before the crash, Patch readers voted that intersection one of the most dangerous in Wellesley.

John Casy February 19, 2013 at 11:29 AM
Great news the grand jury elected not to indict.the driver. Norfolk District Attorney Michael Morrissey is correct that there may be an overall bias against cyclists. Streets are for CARS NOT cyclist. These cyclist ride in the middle of the street or half way out and blocks traffic. And they do NOT care.. . This never should of gone as far as the grand jury. The grand jury sent a message to cyclist the law will NOT protect you if your blocking traffic and get run over. Laws need to be change and drivers are not obligated to yield to the cyclist. Job well done grand jury. If I was on that jury the driver would of walked. The victim's family intends to seek a civil suit. More blood suckers trying to make a fast $$$$$$. The so call victims family will win the suit. How sad that is.
Grahame Turner February 19, 2013 at 03:24 PM
Given the tone of your comment, I feel like you have not been keeping up to date with the story. One of the charges brought against the driver was failing to yield to the cyclist. If I am reading your suggestion correctly, you're saying basically that cars are under no obligation to make sure they don't kill or injure cyclists. Which, if you read the Globe story referenced above, is precisely what the cycling community says is the problem. Consider this an unofficial caution: a man died. A family now has no father. I understand the conflict between cyclists and drivers is frustrating, but show some respect.
Bob February 19, 2013 at 03:27 PM
So John, You advocate death for cyclists then?
Bob February 19, 2013 at 03:52 PM
"Cyclists" are fellow humans. Riding a bike does not relegate them to some sort of sub-class. And historically, streets are not the sole pervue of motorized vehicles. There are state (and federal) laws that allow, ne, provide protections for, multi-use traffic (i.e. pedestrians, equestrians, etc.) and in all situations, motorized vehicles MUST yield to other users. As a motor vehicle operator, you do not have special privileges bestowed upon you. You must adhere to the law. All laws. Period. Lastly, Massachusetts has additional specific laws relating to cycling on our roadways: http://www.malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXIV/Chapter85/Section11b When you operate a motorized vehicle, you accept responsibility for your behavior. And yes, there are many cyclists that misbehave. Report them and they will be cited. If you support the grand jury's decision to not indict McCoomb, then you also make it easier for a driver to kill, through negligence, pedestrians. Maybe a child? Maybe your child? Maybe you? As a society, we accept a certain behavioral norm when dealing with one another. Selective reasoning for how and when we choose to be responsible rises to the level of gross indifference and one should expect repercussions including prosecution under the law. McCoombs choice to pass Motsenigos at that particular location is gross negligence. Read the police report and you'll have all the details you need to come to the same conclusion.
Frank February 19, 2013 at 05:59 PM
You are a moron. The law says that cyclists are allowed on the road. And if you bothered to watch the traffic video, you would know that this cyclist was not blocking anything or cutting anyone off. Go back into your hole.
Frank February 19, 2013 at 06:00 PM
And what does this have to do with this incident? Did you watch the video? He was not weaving, going the wrong way, running a stop sign or red light, or swerving. I find it interesting that you have no similar declarations for the truck driver, whose fault this was.
Frank February 19, 2013 at 06:01 PM
I'm...I'm shocked. An actual, reasoned, reasonable post about this terrible accident.
LarryBoston February 19, 2013 at 07:05 PM
Frank, No, I did not watch the video, please reply with the link to said video.
Michael February 19, 2013 at 08:02 PM
http://www1.whdh.com/news/articles/local/12009771306720/wrongful-death-suit-filed-in-wellesley-bike-accident/ Watch the 16 second video included in this WHDH coverage carefully, full screen is optimal. You will see the trucker clearly behind the cyclist and attempt an aggressive pass in a short distance before the road narrows dangerously. If you doubt the criminality of the driver go ride a bike through the intersection and imagine a huge truck trying to pass you where the road narrows and bends. What is your opinion after seeing this video? Are you familiar with that road? The driver said he was and said he saw the cyclist. Yet, he attempted to pass at that point with total disregard for the safety of the cyclist. Would you have passed in that situation? Would 1 in 100 people attempt to pass in that situation? Would 1 in 1000 truckers driving a big rig try to pass in that situation?
JsMM February 19, 2013 at 08:16 PM
Judging from the utter inability to write in proper English,this guy is either Dana Mccoomb of East Wareham or a friend of his. Dana Mccoomb killed a productive member of the society. That is Dana Mccoomb's crowning achievement after 20+ years of vehicular infractions, including 2 surchargeable accidents in the 10 months prior to killing Alex Motsenigos, DWIs, destroying property and leaving the scene and oh so much more. Dana Mccoomb essentially believes that he got away with murder. Justice has an elephantine memory though.
JsMM February 19, 2013 at 08:26 PM
@John Casy SHAME ON YOU. You are clearly uneducated and incapable of a cogent argument on the topic. You are the problem. When citizens of your intellectual caliber are asked to participate in Grand Juries, it is no wonder that justice is not served. Bias trumps reason and evidence. To add insult to injury CJ Mabardy of Cambridge hired and defended the hiring of such an incompetent driver as Dana Mccoomb. What a judiciary travesty...
JsMM February 19, 2013 at 08:34 PM
@Bob. Thank you for your thoughtful response.
Mike Brennan February 19, 2013 at 09:57 PM
The sad part of your idiotic comments is that you don't seem to recognize the tragedy for all involved here regardless of fault. That said, current laws allow cyclists to ride on the road. It's actually against the law for them (us) to ride on sidewalks. But let me guess, you're the guy who brakes for a squirrel in the middle of the road and then 1/4 mile later goes into a rage about a couple of guys (or women) on bikes, maybe getting in shape for a cancer ride, flips them the bird and then tries to rub them off the road. You're a credit to humanity.

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