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Driver of car that dragged Newton cyclist is criminally charged

The Daily News Tribune: Driver of car that dragged Newton cyclist is criminally charged

Daily News Tribune
Posted Dec 01, 2009 @ 11:01 PM

NATICK —
Police have filed a criminal complaint against a Bolton woman with a bad driving record in connection with a Nov. 18 accident in which a bicyclist was seriously injured after being struck by a car and dragged more than 800 feet.

The complaint was filed Nov. 25 in Framingham District Court against Lorraine Peterson, 61, of 359 Berlin Road, though police redacted the specific charge in a copy of the accident report released to the Daily News.

Police spokesman Lt. Brian Grassey said public records law permits redaction of criminal charges until probable cause has been determined in court.

Police also cited Peterson with failure to yield and failure to use care in stopping, starting or turning, Grassey said.

Peterson’s driving record, obtained from the Registry of Motor Vehicles, lists 10 speeding violations in the MetroWest area since 1986, most recently in Framingham in 2007.

Peterson was also cited in Cambridge and Westwood for failure to stop in 1985 and 1988, in addition to two seat belt violations and one failure to signal violation in 2001 in Westborough and Mansfield.

Peterson is scheduled to appear in Framingham District Court on Monday at 9:30 a.m. for a hearing on the criminal complaint. Such hearings are closed and the results don’t become public unless a formal criminal charge is issued.

Police also declined to release information on the 30-year-old bicyclist, from the Auburndale section of Newton, who was injured in the accident. The man was last listed in serious condition at UMass Memorial Medical Center.

"We never release victim information," Grassey said.

In their accident report, police list "inattention" as an action of the driver that may have contributed to the crash. Use of a cellular phone was not listed.

According to the report, Peterson’s 2002 Volvo was traveling south on Union Street around 7:25 p.m. when it entered the short connector road and came to a stop at the intersection of Eliot Street, or Rte. 16.

Peterson turned left onto Eliot Street, and struck the bicyclist, who was traveling west on the north side of the road.

The bicyclist tried to avoid collision, fell to the ground and became trapped under the car. He was dragged 860 feet until the Volvo was alerted by another driver.

The report says the driver was unaware that she had struck or was dragging the cyclist.

Police said that a driver who witnessed the accident from behind the Volvo had honked, attempting to alert the driver, and may have used other tactics to get the driver to stop.

The Volvo continued down Eliot Street, then stopped shortly after making a right turn onto Water Street. Firefighters freed the man from under the car, and he was flown by medical rescue helicopter to UMass Memorial Medical Center.

Police also said last week the bicyclist was wearing a helmet and reflective gear, and the bike was equipped with front and rear lights.

The man underwent surgery on Nov. 20, and was interviewed by police for more than six hours on Nov. 24.

Michael Morton contributed to this report.