MERRIMACK — An attorney for the dump truck driver charged in a fatal crash said his client made a “simple human error.”
“There is no doubt that what happened here was an absolute tragedy ... but it is a long way from manslaughter,” Richard Guerriero argued on behalf of 43-year-old Kyle Witty on Monday, saying Witty hit his brakes prior to the accident. “He did not consciously disregard the risk.”
Witty, a former road agent for the town of Cornish, was driving a 10-wheel, 1989 Freightliner dump truck filled with stone July 16 when the vehicle collided with Elizabeth “Liz” McQuinn’s 2014 Kia at the Route 101A intersection with Continental Boulevard. The 60-year-old Nashua woman was pronounced dead at the scene. Police said Witty ran a red light.
Hillsborough County Attorney Patricia LaFrance argued that Witty had about six seconds from the time the traffic light turned red to stop his 60,000-pound dump truck.
“Your honor, that is the definition of reckless,” LaFrance told Judge Paul Moore at the 9th Circuit Court, Merrimack District Division. “He consciously disregarded that risk.”
Moore determined there was enough probable cause to move forward with the manslaughter charge, which will now be handed over to a grand jury for a possible indictment.
During Monday’s testimony, Sgt. Brian Levesque acknowledged that a large tree hanging over the roadway near the Route 101A intersection may have temporarily hindered Witty’s line of sight with the traffic light.
However, he said Witty still would have been able to see the traffic light before reaching the tree and immediately after passing the tree. Levesque said the tree has since been cut down.
Levesque said Witty was cooperative after the crash. Police determined Witty was not impaired, nor was he using a cell phone. Levesque said Witty repeatedly told police the traffic light was green at the time of the accident.
Witty, who remains free on bail, could face 15 to 30 years in prison if found guilty of manslaughter, according to authorities.