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Officer Chrarged. Was he texting?

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  • Officer Chrarged. Was he texting?

    Judge Kevan Cunningham ordered Faria, 33, held on $50,000 cash bail on charges of homicide by motor vehicle, operating to endanger, and leaving the scene of an accident.
    Last edited by cmr164; 07-22-2008, 05:58 AM. Reason: Removed extra 'r'

  • #2
    Whatever he was doing, he failed, and some poor dude died as a result. Weather he was texting, fiddling with the radio, or looking in his sideview at some chicks butt is irrelevant, what is relevant is his responsibility to operate his vehicle in a safe manner. At that, if proven guilty, then he should pay the price.

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    • #3
      For those who are link impaired, and to clarify that he was not on duty and with the Dept of Mental Health

      TAUNTON - A state employee from Stoughton was distracted by his cellphone when he struck and killed a man with his car last weekend, in the latest fatal accident in Massachusetts involving text messaging, authorities say.

      Michael L. Faria, whom Easton police identified as a police officer for the Department of Mental Health, pleaded not guilty in Taunton District Court yesterday to charges stemming from an accident that killed John J. McCarthy, 58, of Brockton, as McCarthy walked on Washington Street in Easton early Saturday.

      Judge Kevan Cunningham ordered Faria, 33, held on $50,000 cash bail on charges of homicide by motor vehicle, operating to endanger, and leaving the scene of an accident.

      Alison Goodwin, Health and Human Services spokeswoman, confirmed that Faria worked for the department, but said she could not comment on his position or status.

      The accident followed two deaths believed to have been related, at least in part, to text messaging. In December, 13-year-old Earman Machado was struck and killed in Taunton by a driver who later told police he was trying to send a text message. In October, 17-year-old Amanda Martin of Southbridge was killed when she drove off the road after receiving a text message.

      The deaths occurred as lawmakers were considering a ban on using hand-held cellphones while driving. A bill that passed in the House in January is now in the Senate, said Representative Joseph F. Wagner, a Chicopee Democrat who sponsored the bill.

      Wagner said he has long felt text messaging was dangerous.

      "It is a major distraction to the safe operation of a motor vehicle, and I think if we can eliminate that distraction, we should," he said.

      McCarthy, a Vietnam War veteran and father of two who often walked in the early morning for exercise, was believed to have been struck about 4:15 a.m. Saturday, said Bristol Assistant District Attorney Jessica Lennon. Outside court after yesterday's hearing, the McCarthy family's lawyer, Thomas J. Minichiello, said a Good Samaritan called police at 4:41 a.m. Lennon said McCarthy was alive but bleeding heavily from his head, arms, and legs when police arrived.

      McCarthy later died at Caritas Good Samaritan Medical Center in Brockton.

      Reading from the police report yesterday, Lennon said that, based on a tip, police went to the home of an Easton man, who told them that Faria had been drinking earlier that evening and had been at his house until just before the accident. The man said Faria called him sometime after he left and said he had been looking down at his phone, text messaging, when he thought he hit someone, Lennon said.

      When the man asked what happened, Faria responded, "I don't know; I didn't go back," according to the police report.

      "It is quite possible that if the defendant had contacted 911 at the time of the crash, the victim would be alive today," Lennon said.

      Lennon argued for $250,000 bail, calling Faria a flight risk.

      Faria, Lennon said, went to Maine after the accident. An anonymous caller told police Monday that her daughter was at the Easton home where Faria had been and overheard a phone conversation about the accident. Police tried to call Faria later that day, Lennon said, but he did not return their calls. He also made some repairs to his sport utility vehicle, which was damaged in the accident, Lennon said.

      Faria's lawyer, John LaChance of Framingham, said his client had no obligation to return phone calls until a warrant was issued on Tuesday, when he turned himself in.

      Faria "could have crossed over to Canada, gone anywhere he wanted to," said LaChance, who argued for $5,000 bail.

      Detective Sergeant John Lynn of the Easton Police Department said he did not know whether police would file charges against anyone else.

      Donald Fisher, a professor at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst who studies distracted driving, said he considers text messaging "probably the single most dangerous" activity someone could do while driving.

      A study released last year by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that nearly 80 percent of all crashes and 65 percent of all near crashes occur when drivers are distracted and that the leading cause of distraction is dialing or talking on cellphones.

      A survey released last year by Nationwide Mutual Insurance indicated that 19 percent of all drivers - and 37 percent of drivers ages 18 to 27 - engage in text messaging while driving.

      "It requires a lot of your mental focus, and it occurs over a long period of time," Fisher said.
      Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.

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