Monday, June 17, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

HomeNewsA night of...

A night of drinking on Good Friday turns deadly for Monument Mountain High School graduates

“They had been at a bar in Lee and hanging out in town,” Great Barrington Police Office Timothy Ullrich wrote of the driver, Kyle Bailey’s, response. And when Ullrich asked him how much he had had to drink, Bailey was reported to have said, “obviously too much.”

Great Barrington — What began as a Friday night out for three friends at the start of the Easter holiday weekend ended tragically in early morning hours after what a preliminary police report said was the failure of the inebriated driver to negotiate a “gradual left hand curve” on East Street, causing the southbound car to run off the right side of the road and slam into a utility pole.

A light rain was falling and the road was wet when Great Barrington Police Officer Timothy Ullrich responded to the scene of the April 4 crash that killed 21-year-old Garrett J. Norton, and severely injured both Matthew A. Moriarty, 20, — now listed in fair condition at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston — and the driver, Kyle S. Bailey, 22, his condition unknown. All three were recent graduates of Monument Mountain Regional High School.

LEAD Pole
Flowers and mementos to Garrett Norton were affixed to the utility pole on East Street where the young man died in a car crash early on the morning of April 4.

Bailey, who according to police is still hospitalized at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield with “serious injuries,” was arraigned on April 6 through his appointed attorney Jill Sheldon, who the report says agreed to “no driving…no drugs or alcohol w/screening,” as the conditions of his release. Also, his bail was reduced from $7,000 to $4,000, and a tentative date of May 4 was scheduled for a formal arraignment, though according to the Southern Berkshire District Court, that date may be moved if Bailey is released and able to appear earlier.

Bailey, of Glendale, was charged with OUI Resulting in Motor Vehicle Homicide; Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle; Speeding; Failure to Stay Within Marked Lanes; Open Container of Alcohol in a Motor Vehicle; and OUI Causing Serious Injuries.

What Officer Ullrich reported seeing when he arrived at the scene just before 1 a.m. was chilling: the crushed front end of a green 1998 Subaru Forester that had “snapped off” the utility pole on the west side of the street, and a man lying in the road, which was littered with beer cans and bottles, presumably from the vehicle. Inside the car were two men, the driver conscious and alert, the other, breathing but “slumped forward” and “unresponsive” with his legs pinned between the dashboard and the door.

The curve on East Street that Bailey failed to negotiate. The utility pole his vehicle smashed into is in the distance, in front of the beige house. Photo: Heather Bellow
The curve on East Street that Bailey failed to negotiate. The utility pole his vehicle smashed into is in the distance, in front of the beige house. Photo: Heather Bellow

East Street is a densely populated minor artery that serves the neighborhood, but also functions as a bypass to connect to Route 7 in both directions. The street is narrow, and a sidewalk runs along its west side. Some of the utility poles along the street, including the one that the Subaru hit, are close to the road.

Officer Jonathan Finnerty arrived at the scene to assist Officer Ullrich, and soon the Great Barrington Fire Department extricated Norton, who died of his injuries at Fairview Hospital not long after he arrived there.

Moriarty, who had been riding in the backseat, had left the car after the accident and was lying the road, alert and conscious, but, as it turned out, was suffering from a broken pelvis, according to the report.

Bailey, a Keene State College journalism student, was also alert and conscious, and still in the driver’s seat with the door open, according to the report. Officer Ullrich wrote that he smelled a “slight odor of alcohol” on Bailey and began to ask him questions. “They had been at a bar in Lee and hanging out in town,” Ullrich wrote of Bailey’s response. And when Ullrich asked him how much he had had to drink, Bailey was reported to have said, “obviously too much.”

Matthew Moriarty
Matthew Moriarty

Police listed what they found in the car: “Several broken Miller Lite bottles; two Pabst Blue Ribbon cans, unopened; Miller Lite and Bud Lite cans; four bottles of Sam Adams in a 6-pack box…” in addition to the bottles and cans in the road. There was also, according to the report, marijuana and a glass bong of some sort.

Moriarty and Bailey were taken to Berkshire Medical Center (BMC) in Pittsfield before being transferred to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield. Bailey suffered a dislocated hip and “multiple fractures,” according to the report.

Upon Bailey’s initial arrival at BMC, Officer Ullrich told him he was under arrest, and read him his rights, which “he said he understood.” Bailey then proceeded to tell Ullrich that the three had been at Norton’s house before going to Michael’s Restaurant in Stockbridge, where they stayed for a couple of hours, and where Bailey said he had had two beers. Bailey said they were “coming from Michael’s” and taking Moriarty home when the accident happened. According to the report, Bailey further told the officer that “Matt and Garrett had more to drink than he did.”

At around 3 a.m., Bailey consented to having his blood drawn to determine his blood alcohol level, the report said. That information has not been released.

Moriarty was later transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where he underwent surgery on Monday (April 6) and is now listed in fair condition, according to a Mass General spokesperson. Police say Bailey is still hospitalized, but Baystate officials continue to refuse to answer questions about his condition.

Norton’s death has sent waves of shock and grief throughout the area, especially at Monument High, where many of the older students knew him well. The entire school stopped for a moment of silence yesterday

Garrett Norton, in a photo taken while he was a student and football player at Monument Mountain Regional High School.
Garrett Norton, in a photo taken while he was a student and football player at Monument Mountain Regional High School.

for Norton, and grief counseling was made available, and will continue to be available for those who need it, said Principal Marianne Young, who said it was a “sad time.” She also said “we took time to send thoughts, prayers, wishes of healing for Matt and Kyle.”

Both Norton and Moriarty played football at the school. Young said that the “the faculty and staff at Monument remember Garrett with great fondness…his contagious smile, his respectful demeanor, his commitment to doing good work, and his loyalty to his teammates, friends and coaches.”

The posts that have filled Norton’s Facebook page since the accident paint the picture of a fun-loving, car-and truck-loving man who was always smiling. “You were one of the nicest, happiest kids in my class,” said one friend from Monument High, “and I’m so happy I got to be around you during your time here because you were a truly amazing person.

“…The world lost one of the best souls humanity had to offer,” said another.

Norton lived in Housatonic, where he worked at John’s Garage. He is a 2014 graduate of Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, N.Y., with a degree from the Automotive Technical Services academic program, according to his page on Merit.com, a networking site.

To contact Heather Bellow write her at hbellow@theberkshireedge.com or call 413-329-6871.

spot_img

The Edge Is Free To Read.

But Not To Produce.

Continue reading

In its first month, Sheffield’s new locally sourced ice cream shop, Modern Milk Bar, has caught on fast

Traditional, good-quality ice cream made from local, real-food ingredients is the vision of Modern Milk Bar.

West Stockbridge opens cooling centers at Town Hall, and Library this week

The measure comes in response to an anticipated heat wave in the area.

‘History is real and not a theory’: Pittsfield celebrates Juneteenth

"I think it is deeply important that Berkshire County celebrates Juneteenth," NAACP Berkshires Vice President Sabrina Allard told The Berkshire Edge. "For Pittsfield, celebrating Juneteenth shows a commitment to equality and racial justice.”

The Edge Is Free To Read.

But Not To Produce.