EX-MSU star Malik McDowell pleads guilty to fighting with cops, truck theft

Malik McDowell

Malik McDowell (Photo: Ted S. Warren, AP)

Former Michigan State football standout Malik McDowell is expected to learn next month his punishment for drunken driving, fighting with police and driving a stolen vehicle earlier this year.

On Wednesday, McDowell pleaded guilty to charges of assault/resisting arrest, operating a vehicle while intoxicated and receiving and concealing stolen property, according to Oakland Circuit Court records.

A judge scheduled McDowell’s sentencing on all three charges for Nov. 13, 2019, records said.

The resisting arrest charge is a felony punishable by up to two years in prison and fines. Operating while intoxicated is a 93-day misdemeanor. However, McDowell has a February 2018 drunken driving conviction in Royal Oak and could receive an enhanced combined sentence of fine, jail time and community service. Receiving and concealing stolen property is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

The charges stem from an incident in February.

During the incident at a Lathrup Village gas station, McDowell confronted a police officer, refused to hand over his license and grabbed his wrists and put his hand on the officer’s gun.

Police deployed an electric stun gun, but it didn’t faze the football player. Other officers helped handcuff McDowell.

The receiving and concealing stolen property charge against McDowell stems from an investigation of pickup thefts from a Ford Motor Co. overflow lot in Dearborn. He was arraigned on the charge in April.

The trucks were equipped with GPS devices, one of which led officers with the Oakland County sheriff’s auto theft unit to a closed garage at McDowell’s Southfield address.

McDowell told police he did not know the truck was stolen and had purchased it for $3,000 from a man on Linwood in Detroit. He didn’t know the man’s name, according to police.

A highly sought-after recruit who starred as a defensive lineman for the Spartans, McDowell was drafted in the second round in 2017 by the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks. However, never played a down in the league after suffering a head injury in an ATV crash in July 2017.

In July 2018, the Seahawks waived McDowell. The NFL team in May 2019 filed a federal lawsuit against him over a nearly $800,000 signing bonus that an arbitrator ordered him to pay back. https://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/oakland-county/2019/10/24/ex-msu-star-mcdowell-pleads-guilty-fighting-cops-truck-theft/4082140002/

U.S. senators target auto tech mandate to block drunk driving

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two U.S. senators on Wednesday plan to introduce legislation that would require automakers to install technology to prevent intoxicated drivers from starting a vehicle by the middle of the next decade.

For more than 10 years, major automakers and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have been researching technology solutions to prevent impaired driving crashes.

In 2017, 10,847 people were killed in crashes on U.S. roads involving an intoxicated driver, with costs to society nearing $200 billion, NHTSA data showed.

Senator Tom Udall, a Democrat, and Rick Scott, a Republican, will introduce legislation to mandate such technology on all new vehicles within about four years of the bill’s passage and direct the federal government to work with automobile manufacturers, suppliers, universities and others to ensure those vehicles are available for sale at the earliest practical date.

Udall said he believes the technology will be ready.

“This issue has a real urgency to it,” Udall said in an interview with Reuters. “The industry is often resistant to new mandates. We want their support but we need to do this whether or not we have it – lives are at stake.”

A similar bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Debbie Dingell, a Democrat, that would require setting rules for advanced vehicle alcohol detection devices by 2024.

The senators want to establish a pilot program for deployment of the technology by federal agencies.

NHTSA has invested over $50 million over 10 years in related technology, and equipment is already undergoing limited field testing in Maryland and Virginia, Udall said.

Automakers could use devices to determine a driver’s blood alcohol level by touching the steering wheel or engine start button, or could install sensors to passively monitor a driver’s breath or eye-movements, Udall said.

In March, Swedish carmaker Volvo said it planned to install cameras and sensors in its cars from the early 2020s, monitoring drivers for signs of being drunk or distracted and intervening to prevent accidents.

Volvo, owned by China’s Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd, said intervention if the driver is found to be drunk, tired or checking a mobile phone could involve limiting the car’s speed, alerting “Volvo on Call” assistance service, or slowing down and parking the car. https://news.yahoo.com/u-senators-target-auto-tech-100244122.html

Juror accused of perjury in DUI case pleads not guilty

CHARLESTON — A man pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges accusing him of lying during testimony that led a judge to overturn a guilty verdict in a DUI case.

While Jacob R. Stephens later recanted and the judge reversed his decision, he still faces charges for making the false statement in a post-trial hearing in the DUI case against Christopher K. Whitley.

In turn, Whitley was later charged with bribery after police said their investigation led to the discovery that he recruited a man to try to influence another juror in his DUI case.

After Thursday’s hearing, Coles County State’s Attorney Jesse Danley said a plea offer made to Stephens in exchange for his cooperation remains in place. The offer was mentioned during a hearing last week on a prosecution motion to reinstate the guilty verdict in the DUI case.

Public Defender Anthony Ortega, who represents Stephens, declined comment Thursday. During the hearing, he entered the not-guilty plea on Stephens’ behalf.

He told Circuit Judge James Glenn that Stephens would waive his right to a preliminary hearing. That meant the judge didn’t have to consider prosecution evidence to decide if the case should continue.

Glenn scheduled Stephens’ next hearing for Nov. 18.

The charges against Stephens, 23, of Mattoon, are in connection with his saying during an August hearing that, during Whitley’s trial, he overheard another juror say Whitley bought his way out of trouble but would now “get what he deserved.”

Whitley, 41, of Mattoon was charged with driving under the influence in May 2015 and the jury’s guilty verdict came during a trial in April.

During last week’s hearing, Stephens testified and admitted that his claim about what he heard from the other juror wasn’t true. He said he had no reason for why he said that before.

However, evidence at that hearing also included a recording of Stephens’ interview by Mattoon police. In the interview, he said he met after the trial with attorney Todd Reardon, who represented Whitley in the DUI case, and Reardon asked him to make the false statement.

But Reardon also testified and denied making the request, claiming he’s passed a lie detector test to verify it.

Glenn based his decision to reinstate the DUI verdict on Stephens’ testimony and Whitley now awaits sentencing on that conviction.

According to police testimony at an earlier hearing in Whitley’s case, the investigation found that he had a man offer $5,000 to a woman who was on the DUI case jury to say she looked up online information on Whitley during the trial.

The investigation also found that Whitley offered the man, a mutual friend of his and the juror’s, a discount on a vehicle at the Pilson automotive dealership, where Whitley works, according to the testimony. https://jg-tc.com/news/local/crime-and-courts/juror-accused-of-perjury-in-coles-county-dui-case-pleads/article_f8268ac8-514e-5319-af28-3375ab2ed97b.html

Nurse, 22, caught behind the wheel while more than 29 times the ketamine limit

Emily Roebuck, of Stockport, Greater Manchester, was caught drug driving three times in less than three months

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Emily Roebuck was caught drug-driving three times in less than ten weeks (Image: Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd)

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A trainee dental nurse who drove after taking more than 29 times the ketamine limit has been banned from the roads.

Emily Roebuck took the sedative before getting behind the wheel of her Peugeot 107.

After police pulled her over in Manchester city centre in January, tests showed ketamine levels in her blood were more than 29 times the limit for the driving on the drug.

Roebuck, from leafy Bramhall in Stockport, was arrested for a second time just five weeks later in Stockport after a passer-by found her slumped in the driver’s seat.

They moved her into the passenger seat, fearing she would drive off.  

While police were investigating those incidents, Roebuck ploughed her Peugeot into the back of a car.

The 22-year-old woman had taken the anaesthesia drug ketamine (Image: Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd)

She had been trying to read Google Maps on her phone.

Roebuck drove away as police travelled to the scene, but she crashed into two other vehicles.

A Mercedes A200, a Seat Ibiza and a VW High Up were damaged in the incident near her former home in Hayfield, Derbyshire.

Tests showed she was more than four times the drug drive limit for ketamaine and almost twice the limit for the painkiller diazapam.  

Roebuck admitted two charges of drug driving; possessing diazepam; and failing to stop after an accident at Stockport Magistrates’ Court.

She was banned from the road for three years.

Roebuck, of Stockport, has dodged jail for the offences (Image: Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd)

Roebuck was disqualified for 22 months for the first drug driving offence at a hearing in June.

She has to get two buses to work.

The court heard the three incidents happened between January 23 and April 2 after Roebuck obtained the drugs while battling anxiety and depression.

On the first occasion, she was stopped on Ducie Street in Manchester city centre.

Tests showed ketamine levels in her blood of 591 microgrammes per litre of blood. The driving limit for ketamine is 20 microgrammes per litre of blood.

Roebuck was released under investigation, before being caught at the wheel of her car in Cheadle, Stockport, at 9.15pm on March 2 while under the influence of drugs.

The defendant now has to get two buses to work (Image: Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd)

Victoria Newman, prosecuting, said: “Police were called initially to reports of a drunk driver slumped at the wheel of a Peugeot 107.

“A member of the public had moved the female over to the passenger side as feared her driving away.  

“The police noticed the defendant was drowsy and under the influence of some substance her eyes being glazed and slurring her words.

“She was asked to take a seat in the police van, but needed assistance of police to get over there.

“She was found to have a packet of blue tablets, which she admitted were diazepam.

“She said they were not prescribed to her, but that she just buys them and had taken one before driving.” 

The last offence happened on April 2, when police stopped Roebuck at 10.20pm in New Mills, Derbyshire, just outside Stockport.

Roebuck admitted two charges of drug driving; possessing diazepam; and failing to stop after an accident (Image: Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd)

Ms Newman added: “The witness said she was stationary in her car and waiting for traffic to pass, when her vehicle was struck from behind by the defendants car.

“It was hit with enough force to set off both of the airbags.  

“The witness got out of her vehicle and told the defendant not to move whilst she called 999.

“The witness was asking if she was okay, but the defendant then left the scene before the police arrived.

“She then came to a stop after colliding with another two vehicles and police and ambulance attended the scene.

“She was arrested on suspicion in possession of a controlled substance and it was confirmation that ketamine was in her system.”

Tests showed levels of ketamine and diazepam in Roebuck’s blood were 86 microgrammes per litre of blood and 800 microgrammes per litre of blood respectively.

The driving limit for diazapam is 500 microgrammes per litre of blood.

In mitigation, defence lawyer Steve McHugh said: ”I don’t think it’s been my clients finest three months in her life.

“But she has cooperated throughout and entered guilty pleas at the first opportunity.

“It’s unfortunate that all matters could not have been dealt with together, but she is under no illusions as to the serious predicament she’s in.  

“Since this happened, however, she has happily turned her life around and gained employment. 

“She has effectively taken on board all the assistance that could be offered as she suffers from anxiety and depression.

Roebuck had been looking at Google Maps before the incident (Image: Cavendish Press (Manchester) Ltd)

“The only good news of this particular matter is her timely guilty pleas. There is no more that can be said to salvage the situation.

“She is disappointed in her self and her father is mortified at the position his daughter finds herself in.

“As regards the failure to stop she had been looking at Google Maps and it was a relatively short distance. It was not as serious as it could have been.

“She needs some assistance by the probation service to keep her on the straight and narrow together with the input of her family.

“She has always wanted to put these matters behind her and has been waiting for a few months for forensic examination and court proceedings to be completed, which is nothing to do with her.

“Her current employment involves her taking her two buses in the morning and two buses in the evening.”

Roebuck was ordered to complete a 12-month community order and enroll on a six-month drug rehabilitation course. She must complete 180 hours of unpaid work – and pay costs and surcharges of £170. https://www.smdailyjournal.com/news/local/sheriff-s-sergeant-faces-dui-charge-in-redwood-city/article_ca9a3f68-f607-11e9-8e12-2f48393e126e.html

Sheriff’s sergeant faces DUI charge

A 49-year-old sheriff’s sergeant entered a plea of not guilty to misdemeanor driving under the influence of alcohol through his defense attorney Wednesday following his arrest in September by a Redwood City police officer who saw his personal car nearly collide with a curb twice, according to the San Mateo County District Attorney’s Office.

Out of custody on his own recognizance, Luis Aquino did not appear in court Wednesday but his defense attorney Josh Bentley appeared on his behalf and waived his right to a speedy trial, according to prosecutors.

At 11:33 p.m. Sept. 14, Aquino was allegedly stopped by a Redwood City police officer at Broadway and Marshall Street after the officer saw his car nearly collide with the curb twice. His car allegedly came to a stop after hitting a tree, and the officer was allegedly able to smell alcohol on his breath, according to prosecutors.

Aquino allegedly refused to submit to field sobriety tests or a chemical test, which could have allowed officers to determine his blood alcohol level. He was arrested and taken to Star Vista’s First Chance Sobering Station, but was uncooperative and had to be booked into jail, according to prosecutors.

Aquino’s trial was set April 6 and he is next expected to appear in court for pretrial conference March 2, according to prosecutors. https://www.smdailyjournal.com/news/local/sheriff-s-sergeant-faces-dui-charge-in-redwood-city/article_ca9a3f68-f607-11e9-8e12-2f48393e126e.html

Attorney Rob Corry Jailed Amid Questions About Fatal Truck Crash Case

In late September, attorney Rob Corry was busted for the third time since spring, with the latest accusation — driving under the influence — adding to a particularly bizarre arrest history. Now, in the wake of a motion by the First Judicial District DA’s office about his participation on the defense team of Rogel Lazaro Aguilera-Mederos, the Houston truck driver accused of causing an enormous crash on Interstate 70 that killed four people on April 25, Corry is back in jail for allegedly violating one of several protection orders against him.

Corry is among Colorado’s best-known attorneys, largely because of his advocacy on behalf of progressive marijuana policy. He helped write Amendment 64, the 2012 measure that legalized limited recreational cannabis sales in the state, has staged stunts like free joint giveaways to draw attention to pot-related issues, and was deeply involved in the previous version of the Denver 4/20 rally.

In the meantime, however, Corry has acquired a lengthy rap sheet. These four incidents predated 2019:

• In 1998, Corry was charged in Washington, D.C., with menacing some drinking buddies using a shotgun. For this offense, he served 35 days in jail.

• In 2006, he was accused of sexual assault. In that incident, a female friend with narcolepsy who’d been drinking wound up spending the night at the Arvada residence that Corry shared with his then-wife, fellow attorney Jessica Peck. The woman subsequently awakened to discover that a naked man was on top of her. She initially thought it was her boyfriend and began performing oral sex on him, only to discover moments later that the person in question was actually Corry, who later blamed his behavior on alcohol. He eventually pleaded guilty to third-degree assault, a misdemeanor, and in January 2007, he was sentenced to five years of probation and sixty days in jail. Corry is said to have served 44 days before being released early for good behavior, and underwent treatment for substance abuse.

A Rob Corry mug shot from September.

A Rob Corry mug shot from September.Denver District Attorney’s Office

• In June 2013, cops nabbed Corry after he allegedly broke the window of a recreational vehicle.

• On September 25, 2013, at Coors Field, during the final home game of Colorado Rockies all-star Todd Helton, Corry was among several people seen publicly smoking marijuana. When an officer asked him to hand over his joint, according to the arrest affidavit, he replied, “No, I don’t have to, it’s legal.” Other quotes attributed to him include: “I don’t have any ID and don’t have to give you shit”; “Oh, fuck off, cop. It’s a citation only — public consumption”; “I am going back to my seat and watch the game”; “You’re a stupid cop. You are going to make this easy for me. You can’t search me. It’s a citation only”; and “You can go wherever you want. I am getting my stupid citation for public smoking and going back to the game. You can fuck off and bring me my ticket.”

On June 14 of this year, Corry was arrested on suspicion of kidnapping and more in connection with a crazy drive at Denver International Airport motivated by a supposed pursuit by Arabs with a helicopter. On July 2, he was handcuffed for allegedly waving a samurai-style sword at people near West Eighth Avenue and Acoma Street. And on September 27, he was contacted by two Denver police officers following a traffic accident with another occupied vehicle on the 1400 block of Downing. His so-called “indicia of impairment” included an all-caps roster: “SPEECH AS SLURRED/MUMBLING, BREATH HAD A STRONG ODOR OF AN UNKNOWN ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE, BALANCE WAS SWAYING/STAGGERING, EYES WERE BLOODSHOT/WATERY.”

After Corry was placed in the “DUI room” at a nearby Denver police station, law enforcement officials discovered the existence of at least two protection orders, including a permanent one concerning the safety of his ex-wife, Peck. A violation of one order is said to have taken place on October 11, and the matter was filed on October 14; a court date followed last week. The result is documented in the following screen capture from the Denver Sheriff’s Department inmate search page:

Corry’s handling of Aguilera-Mederos — who faces 41 charges, including vehicular homicide, and is currently expected to enter a plea during a November 21 hearing — has been controversial for some time. Note that last month, a judge threatened him with sanctions after Corry publicly invited family members of victims to ask the trucker any questions they wished before his trial. 

More recently, DA Pete Weir asked a Jefferson County Court judge to “to set a hearing in order to determine the existence of conflict-free representation for the Defendant and to appoint an advisory counsel for the Defendant to advise for the same purpose.”

The document that Weir submitted contends that “among the many responsibilities shouldered by the Prosecution and the Court, is ensuring those who face criminal charges are afforded all their constitutional rights. Including, the right to effective assistance of counsel.” 

Weir worries about whether Corry can meet this standard because of “opposing counsel’s three pending criminal cases and the lack of accessing discovery in the present matter.” According to electronic discovery logs, Weir maintains, “opposing counsel has not downloaded available discovery since July 8, 2019.”

First Judicial District DA’s office spokesperson Pam Russell stresses that Weir isn’t trying to force Corry from participating in the Aguilera-Mederos defense. Rather, he’s simply seeking to insure that the trucker is fully informed about Corry’s issues. She adds that Corry was supposed to answer the motion on October 18, but didn’t do so — likely because he was in custody. Right now, a hearing on the matter is slated for Wednesday, October 23, and Russell says it’s incumbent on Corry to appear in court or ask for a delay if he’s unable to be there for one reason or another.

We’ve reached out to Harvey Steinberg, the lawyer who has been representing Corry, about his latest brush with the law. If and when either of them get back to us, we’ll update this post. https://www.westword.com/content/printView/11518175

Man with Rare Condition Gets Drunk Off Carbs Fermenting in His Gut

After being arrested for driving under the influence, the man was diagnosed with ‘auto-brewery syndrome,’ a condition that causes the gut to produce ethanol.

It was in January 2011, about a week after finishing a round of antibiotics for a thumb injury, that the man first started presenting a batch of unlikely symptoms: memory loss; brain fog; depression; aggression. His doctors couldn’t figure it out—and so, in 2014, they referred him to a psychiatrist who prescribed him a round of antidepressants. The man was later pulled over by police for allegedly driving under the influence. Despite having had nothing to drink, a breathalyser test indicated that he had the blood alcohol equivalent of someone who’d consumed 11 to 14 beverages, and he was arrested.ADVERTISEMENT

This story is the subject of a new report published in the BMJ Journal of Gastroenterology, titled: “Case report and literature review of auto-brewery syndrome: probably an underdiagnosed medical condition”. The report states that, following his arrest and at his aunt’s insistence, the 46-year-old man underwent a series of tests that eventually discovered traces of the fungus Saccharomyces cerevisiae (that is, brewer’s yeast) in his stool sample.

Saccharomyces cerevisiae is typically used during the brewing process to turn carbs into alcohol—and it was thus suspected that the man in question may have been experiencing a condition known as “auto-brewery symptom.”

“Auto-brewery syndrome (ABS), also known as gut fermentation syndrome, is a rarely diagnosed medical condition in which the ingestion of carbohydrates results in endogenous alcohol production,” reads the report abstract. “The patient in this case report had fungal yeast forms in the upper small bowel and cecum, which likely fermented carbohydrates to alcohol.”

To test this, the man was given a carb-heavy meal while having his blood alcohol levels monitored. After eight hours, it elevated to 57 milligrams per decilitre—or the equivalent of about three to five standard drinks for someone his size. He was treated for ABS and prescribed anti-fungal medication. But after several weeks, his symptoms returned, and he started to get drunk again from the brewer’s yeast in his gut.

“The most significant event caused by one of his inebriations was a fall that caused intracranial [brain] bleeding and necessitated a transfer to a regional neurosurgical centre, where he had a complete spontaneous recovery in 10 days,” according to the report. After taking a different anti-fungal medication and cutting out carbs for six weeks, he finally recovered.

It’s since been hypothesised that the man’s exposure to antibiotics triggered his boozy symptoms, by changing his gastrointestinal microbiome and allowing for “fungal overgrowth.” But this isn’t the only reported case of ABS in recent memory. In 2016, a New York woman blew a blood alcohol level that was more than four times the legal limit, but later had her charges dismissed after the judge received evidence that she suffered from the condition.

“I had never heard of auto-brewery syndrome before this case,” attorney Joseph Marusak told CNN at the time. “But I knew something was amiss when the hospital police… wanted to release her immediately because she wasn’t exhibiting any symptoms.”

“That prompts me to get on the Internet and see if there is any sort of explanation for a weird reading,” adds Marusak. “Up pops auto-brewery syndrome and away we go.”

Authors of the BMJ report believe that ABS is “probably an underdiagnosed condition.” https://www.vice.com/en_au/article/8xwez4/man-with-rare-condition-gets-drunk-off-carbs-fermenting-in-his-gut

George Clooney’s sister-in-law jailed for drunk driving in Singapore

George Clooney

© Associated Press George ClooneyGeorge Clooney’s sister-in-law is about to serve jail time for drunk driving.

Tala Alamuddin Le Tallec, the older sister of human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, plead guilty on Monday to charges that included drunk driving and driving without insurance, according to the Straits Times in Singapore. The fashion designer received three weeks of jail time for her offenses.

Le Tallec, a resident of Singapore, also received a $6.400 fine and had her license revoked for four years. The 47-year-old fashion designer had nearly three times the legal amount of alcohol in her system upon arrest.

According to the Straits Times, the arrest occurred at a police roadblock at around 2:30 a.m. Upon being stopped, Le Tallec had trouble locating the car’s handbrake and momentarily stepped on the gas pedal as she searched for her driver’s license.

George and Amal Clooney

“The test found that she had 95 micrograms (mcg) of alcohol in 100 milliliters of breath–almost triple the prescribed limit of 35mcg of alcohol in 100ml of breath,” the paper reported. 

The paper also noted that Le Tallac has a history of driving offenses.

Le Tallec was barred from driving for two years following a drunk driving conviction in 2013. Moreover, Le Tallec was charged with “careless driving in 2010 and inconsiderate driving in 2004.”

Hollywood superstar George Clooney revealed that he met his wife Amal through a mutual friend, who asked him if he could bring a friend at the actor’s Lake Como home. “It’s the wildest thing. A mutual friend of ours said, ‘I’m stopping by and can I bring my friend?’ And I was like, ‘Of course,'” Clooney said. He further added: “The funniest thing was my mom and dad were visiting, so my parents were there, and we just talked and we stayed up all night talking and then, you know, I got her email address ’cause she was going to send me some pictures of my parents and then we started writing…”

Soon their fairytale romance began, which culminated in their marriage in September 2014. Here’s a look back at their whirlwind love story.

Le Tallec’s lawyer, Shashi Nathan, said she was “genuinely remorseful” and had made a terrible mistake.

Le Tallec is currently the owner of Totally Tala, a fashion line that she started after working as an events planner. https://www.msn.com/en-ph/entertainment/celebrity/george-clooneys-sister-in-law-jailed-for-drunk-driving-in-singapore/ar-AAIYcY7?li=BBr8zL6

Woman sentenced to 10-13 years in prison for role in fatal Brockton crash

Danielle Mastro, 35, reads a statement with her attorneys Alison King and James Corbo, at Brockton Superior Court on Friday, Oct. 11, 2019. She was found guilty of motor vehicle manslaughter. (Marc Vasconcellos/The Enterprise)

Pembroke’s Danielle Mastro, who told police she was drunk and dope sick when she got in her car, was convicted on Friday of manslaughter while operating under the influence.

BROCKTON — Danielle Mastro, 35, of Pembroke, received a sentence of 10 to 13 years in prison followed by a year in county jail on Friday for her role in a 2017 fatal car crash.

Brockton Superior Court Judge Angel Kelly handed down both the verdict and the sentence in a trial where Mastro waived her right to a jury. Kelly found Mastro guilty of manslaughter while operating under the influence.

The crash in question claimed the life of Deborah Combra, a 58-year-old Bridgewater woman who was turning into her office’s parking lot when Mastro rear-ended her SUV in October 2017, sending it into the path of a dump truck approaching in the opposite lane, according to witness testimony.

The ensuing head-on collision ejected Combra from the car and killed her. A passenger traveling with Combra survived with a broken leg.


Witnesses testified that Mastro walked away from the scene on Brockton’s Quincy Street while nurses and doctors from a nearby health center rushed to treat the crash’s other victims.

Mastro later told police she initially thought the crash was a fender bender. She’d left the crash scene in a rush to buy heroin, which had been her goal since the morning, she told police, when she stole her mother’s car and evaded a police chase in Hanson on the way to meet her dealer. Mastro also told police she’d drunk six nip bottles of Vodka between 10 a.m. and the time of the crash — an admission later supported by toxicology tests.

Combra’s family and the passenger who broke her leg read victim impact statements on Friday. Tears mixed with seething anger as those close with Combra spoke of their loss.

“Miss Mastro can go to the phone and call and talk with any member of her family but I, on the other hand, I can only go to the grave to talk to a gravestone where Deb is buried and not have her respond to any questions,” said Manny Combra, Deborah’s widowed husband, in a statement read aloud by Russell Eonas, the case’s lead prosecutor.

Manny Combra weeped in the back of the courtroom while listening to his statement.

Deborah Combra’s sisters read tearful impact statements, both of which called for steep sentences for Mastro.

“I will have to render the sentence and that won’t fill the void,” Judge Kelly responded. “I know that and I want you to know that. But I see you all and I hear you and I will take that into consideration when I make a decision.”

Mastro broke into tears as Combra’s sisters described the family milestones that Combra missed after her death, including the marriage of Combra’s youngest son and the birth of her older son’s first child.

Mastro offered an apology of her own when Combra’s friends and relatives were done speaking.

“I think about all of the families who miss Deborah,” Mastro said. “I think about them on holidays. I think about them when I miss my own family.”

“There are no words that will make what I’ve done OK,” she continued. “I know that sorry doesn’t mean much but I am truly sorry.”

Mastro’s attorneys, James Corbo and Allison King, shared a brief biography of their client before sentencing. Mastro had been using opioids since high school, Corbo said, but her habit escalated after transitioning to heroin while a student at Bridgewater State College.

Mastro beat her addiction for five years, maintaining sobriety in her mid-20s while working at her father’s hardware store in Brockton, Corbo said. She later became a manager at Pet Smart.

Around her 30th birthday, Mastro underwent surgery and relapsed into addiction after taking opiates that were prescribed to her for pain relief.

“She said it’s been a ‘s— show’ ever since, in terms of her relapse,” Corbo said, quoting a conversation they had during a jail visit.

Since the fatal car crash in October 2017, Mastro has spent two years in custody awaiting trial. Her parents chose not to post bail, Corbo said.

Mastro’s attorneys said she has received only two infractions in jail — for giving money to a fellow prisoner for commissary and for using an iron to straighten her hair before trial.

Mastro’s immediate family and a handful of close family friends attended the trial.

Kelly spoke directly to Mastro before she imposed a sentence longer than the minimum of five years.

“You are more than the worst thing you’ve ever done,” Kelly said. “So remember that going forward.”

After the sentence was handed down, Manny Combra thanked the judge and prosecutors but said the end of the trial hardly brought relief.

“I’m kind of satisfied but it’s still not enough,” he said. “My wife’s never going to come back.” https://www.enterprisenews.com/news/20191012/woman-sentenced-to-10-13-years-in-prison-for-role-in-fatal-brockton-crash

Hearing continued for man found in hole following Springfield crash

A man cited following following a crash into a utility pole at the Ronez Manor apartment complex Tuesday night has been identified.

Springfield Police say the man is 33-year-old Edin Gonzalez-Velasquez.

He was found sitting at the bottom of a construction hole when police arrived, Springfield Police Sgt. Michael Curtis said.

“It would appear he lost control because he was intoxicated,” Curtis said. “He has a detainer through immigration and customs, so I suspect that is why (he ran and fell into the hole).”

The construction hole was “roped off very well,” Curtis said.

Several beer cans were found in the vehicle he crashed and suspected marijuana was found on the suspect, according to the affidavit filed with the police report.

Gonzalez-Velasquez was taken to Springfield Regional Medical Center for treatment of injuries he suffered in the crash, police said.

“I observed that Mr. Gonzalez-Velasquez had very bloodshot, red, glassy eyes and he had a strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from his person.” the affidavit said. “When I asked Mr. Gonzalez-Velasquez how much beer he had drank today, he stated he had drank two 24-ounce beers at 6 p.m. or 7 p.m.”

Gonzalez-Velasquez did not have a driving record on file and did not have a driver license that was able to be located, according to the affidavit, which also said he was not the owner of the vehicle.

He was cited for OVI refusal and driving without a license. Gonzalez-Velasquez was ordered into court on Wednesday morning, but the case was continued to a later date, according to court records. https://www.springfieldnewssun.com/news/local/hearing-continued-for-man-found-hole-following-springfield-crash/DFaw8fsSzyvhQlnYj4cNtN/