Mas­sachusetts man pleads guilty in 2014 deadly crash

The Day - - REGION - By KAREN FLORIN Day Staff Writer

The driver of a trac­tor-trailer in­volved in an Oc­to­ber 2014 high­way crash in Waterford that killed a 26-year-old man and two young chil­dren pleaded guilty Tues­day in New Lon­don Su­pe­rior Court to three counts of neg­li­gent homi­cide and reck­less driv­ing.

Gerard S. Dube, 62, of Swansea, Mass., will be sen­tenced Jan. 23 to up to nine months in prison fol­lowed by three years of pro­ba­tion.

Rel­a­tives of the vic­tims spoke at the hear­ing be­fore Judge Ernest Green Jr. and are ex­pected to re­turn to court for the sen­tenc­ing.

Dube was driv­ing a trac­tor-trailer for Gold Medal Bak­ery Inc. when the crash oc­curred shortly be­fore 7 p.m. on Oct. 12, 2014, just south of Exit 82 in the south­bound lanes of I-95. Baugh­nita Leary, 25, of Meri­den was slow­ing for traf­fic con­ges­tion caused by an ear­lier ac­ci­dent, when her Nis­san Sen­tra and sev­eral other ve­hi­cles were struck from be­hind by a trac­tor-trailer driven by Dube.

Leary was badly in­jured. Her fi­ancé, 26-year-old Darin Robin­son, 3-year-old son, Dacari, and 9-yearold daugh­ter, Sanaa, all died from their in­juries.

Leary said at Tues­day’s hear­ing that she un­der­stands the crash was an ac­ci­dent and doesn’t want Dube to “rot in jail,” ac­cord­ing to Su­per­vi­sory As­sis­tant State’s At­tor­ney David J. Smith. Robin­son’s mother, how­ever, said Dube should serve a longer prison term.

The vic­tims filed civil wrong­ful death law­suits in the case, which have since been set­tled con­fi­den­tially. The suits al­leged neg­li­gence

and care­less­ness on be­half of Dube for driv­ing with in­ad­e­quate or de­fec­tive brakes, speed­ing, driv­ing when his alert­ness was im­paired by fa­tigue and not leav­ing enough dis­tance be­tween ve­hi­cles. Also, one of the law­suits al­leged that Gold Medal Bak­ery failed to prop­erly mon­i­tor the in­spec­tion and main­te­nance of the trac­tor-trailer and failed to prop­erly main­tain a driv­ing log of the driver.

Dube made sev­eral court ap­pear­ances while his crim­i­nal charges were pend­ing. The plea deal he ac­cepted had been worked out among Dube’s at­tor­ney, Eu­gene Ric­cio, and Su­per­vi­sory As­sis­tant State’s At­tor­ney Michael Kennedy dur­ing pre­trial dis­cus­sions be­fore Judge Kevin P. McMa­hon. Kennedy has since re­tired.

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