Samuel Goldberg has been a Massachusetts criminal defense attorney for 20 years. Prior to that, he was a New York state prosecutor. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network. To speak to Sam about a criminal matter call (617) 492 3000.

Vehicular Homicides, Drunk Driving And Other Dangers On The MA Roads…Over-Emphasized?

Yesterday morning, as I was driving to the Boston Municipal Court, I received a text message from Altman & Altman’s fearless leader, Attorney Steven Altman.

Uh-oh. What to do when the big man summons?

Well, in this case, what I did was…nothing. In case you have not been paying attention, there is a new law in town which outlaws, among other things, texting while driving. Once a frequent offender, I have embraced the new law as a way to drop this bad and dangerous habit.

What’s that? You think the new law is stupid and over-emphasizes the precariousness of surviving driving on today’s Massachusetts roads? Hmm…maybe you are right. Let me think on that as I peruse yesterday’s news stories.

Well, first I see why my arrival at the BMC was so late yesterday. I drive on Route 107.

Boy, was there a tie-up!

Apparently, A 61-year-old Peabody woman died thereabouts after a front wheel came loose on her car, the vehicle went out of control, careening into the Saugus River near the Revere-Saugus line, authorities said.

Apparently, the woman was trapped in the car as it sank into the water accident, which was reported at 7:46 a.m., officials said.

Revere police Captain Michael Murphy said that after the woman lost control of her car, a 2006 Lexus GS300, it went through the parking lot of a closed business, struck a guardrail, struck a pole, and continued into the water.

Meanwhile, another automobile fatality took place in Wellesley on Monday. In that one, an elderly Arlington man and his wife were fatally injured in a single-car crash on I-95 in Wellesley, State Police said.

The 80-year-old man passed away from his injuries today at Massachusetts General Hospital. His wife, 77 years of age, had died at the scene.

Then, of course, there is the story of the retired Harvard Law School professor whose car allegedly struck and killed a woman riding a motor scooter in Newton last summer. He has now been cited with motor vehicle homicide, prosecutors said yesterday.

An investigation by the Newton police and Massachusetts State Police Reconstructionist team indicated that the woman’s riding her Vespa west on Ward Street when she applied her left signal to turn onto Grant Avenue. As she was making the left turn, she was struck from behind by the professor’s car, the DA’s office said.

Meanwhile, An 87-year-old Waltham woman died Friday, which was two days after her car collided with a police cruiser, the Middlesex district attorney’s office said. This, too, is under investigation.

For some rmysterious eason, not so much information is available on that particular fatality.

Speaking of law enforcement types, though, a big one got whacked from behind by an alleged drunk driver this week. In Worcester resident 51-year-old Donna S. (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) crashed into the commander of the state police was ordered held on $25,000 cash bail Tuesday.

She was arrested and charged with driving drunk on Route 20 in Shrewsbury.

Col. Marian McGovern, the commander of the state police, was waiting at a red light when authorities said her unmarked cruiser was rear-ended by the Defendant.

State police said McGovern, who wasn’t hurt, got out of her cruiser to check on the other driver and determined that the Defendant was drunk.

According to prosecutors, the Defendant has four previous drunken driving offenses on her record. She was sent to prison twice and served three-and-a-half years. Her last offense was in 1998.

Attorney Sam’s Take:

Driving violations and accidents happen all the time. Sometimes it is a drunk driver, sometimes someone was texting, sometimes someone was simply momentarily distracted.

So, in terms of criminal justice, if not personal safety, what does this mean to you?

Plenty.

So many accidents, no less fatalities, put the spotlight on vehicular crimes. The spotlight puts pressure on police officials to solve the problem overnight. This, of course, is impossible, so the next best thing is to appear to be solving the problem, or trying to do so.

Because we tend to like quick fixes, it will not do to simply put long-range and well thought out plans to solve the problem. The quickie feel-good solution is to “get tough on crime”. After all, if you make more things illegal and make more arrests for people doing them anyway, we tend to feel safer at night.

So, yes, when you are driving around, figuring that the watchful eye of law enforcement would never look at you….you are mistaken. Especially now.

So, drive recklessly, drunk or distracted at your own peril. I also remind you that if you are stopped, do not engage in threats or theatrics or flight. Answer the initial identity questions and get a good lawyer.

If you have such a case and wish to discuss it with me, please feel free to call me to arrange a free initial consultation at 617-492-3000.

To view the original stories in which parts of this blog were based, please go to : http://wbz.cbslocal.com/2010/10/12/state-police-commander-hit-by-alleged-drunk-driver/, http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/newton/2010/10/retired_harvard_professor_cite.html?p1=Local_Links , http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/?p1=Well_Local and http://www.boston.com/news/local/breaking_news/2010/10/one_woman_dead.html

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