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.

Road Rage Near Boston University Results In Assault, Battery And Motor Vehicle Criminal Charges

Last week, the Boston Criminal Lawyer Blog discussed criminal prosecutions which result from unintentional acts. One of the things we discussed was Massachusetts motor vehicle crimes that result from car accidents.

Of course, not all such prosecutions result from mere accidents.

Take an incident at Boston University which occurred last week. There was a road rage incident which really got out of hand and resulted in the arrest of two men on Commonwealth Avenue.

The matter apparently came to the attention of law enforcement while it was in mid-stream. Their attention was first drawn to 42-year-old Nick Miller (hereinafter, “Bike Smasher”) as his vehicle struck a bicyclist. Bike Smasher’s car dragged the bicycle and the victim through a red light. Upon further inspection, they noticed that the car’s windows were broken.

However, this turned up to be the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

Apparently, after the bicyclist was struck and dragged, another gentleman entered the scene. Leaving a vehicle on the other side of the intersection came 39-year-old Rocky Jace (hereinafter, “Slugger”). He was carrying a tire iron. He then used the tire iron to smash Bike Smasher’s windshield.

According to witnesses, Bike Smasher and Slugger had been engaged in a road-rage fight before the bike was hit. It was at that time that Slugger apparently broke the rear and side windows of Bike Smasher’s vehicle.

Now, after the striking of the bike, Slugger was back to continue the job.

However, the police on the scene had other ideas. They charged Slugger with Massachusetts Assault and Battery by means of a Dangerous Weapon, Driving to Endanger, Malicious Destruction of Property and various motor vehicle violations. Bike Smasher was charged with assault and battery and malicious destruction of property.

Both gentlemen are apparently from Providence and knew each other from work.

The bicyclist is a recent College of Arts and Sciences graduate. He indicates that he is grateful to be alive and does not remember jumping from his bike, which probably saved him. He reportedly had bruises and scrapes but refused medical attention.
That is not likely to help the resulting civil lawsuit.

The bicycle, according to accounts, was damaged beyond repair.

Attorney Sam’s Take MA Road Rage And Related Crimes

Road Rage, like hate crimes, is a category of crime. The actual offenses, as you can see above, break down to assault, battery, malicious destruction of property and the like.

Massachusetts motor vehicle crimes can have effects other than the sentencing after a guilty finding. One’s license to drive can be in jeopardy as well as one’s status in the United States should you not be a citizen.

The courts are not terribly easygoing with these types of cases. Particularly in a case like this, when, apparently, part of the fight led to Bike Smasher’s driving dangerously and injuring a third party. The seriousness is further exacerbated by the fact it took place in front of Boston University on Massachusetts Avenue. Any number of students, faculty and others would have been walking around the area and could have been struck down and killed.

Then, this matter would have been a Boston homicide.

“Hey, Sam, if Bike Smasher’s vehicle had actually killed the bike rider, would they have both been charged in the homicide?”

Could be. It depends. I will tell you this, though. If there is a resulting civil lawsuit, the bike rider has enough to attribute blame for the accident on both Bike Smasher and Slugger.

Of course, civil litigation is not my calling. I generally leave that to the good folks at Altman & Altman, LLP.

As far as these criminal charges go, this is a matter that could be prosecuted either in district court or indicted and sent up to superior court. There appear to be enough MA felony charges to go around. I say this because, despite what charges the police officers originally bring, the prosecuting attorney could always bring more.

Whatever the charges end up being…both drivers are lucky that a homicide will not be one of them.


To view the article upon which this blog is based, please go to http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/fenway-kenmore/2011/09/two_arrested_in_road_rage_inci.html?camp=obnetwork

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