Wednesday November 7, 2012

OTIS -- A local mother faces new charges -- including driving under the influence of drugs -- in connection with the one-car crash a week ago that injured two young children who weren’t in car seats, according to the Otis police chief.

Kathleen Rocco, 21, allegedly was operating under the influence of drugs when she lost control of her vehicle, which went off the road and slammed into a tree on Route 23 near the Monterey town line, said Police Chief Roberta Sarnacki.

Sarnacki said Rocco had drug paraphernalia and was illegally in possession of .12-gauge shotgun shells in her Chevy Cavalier at the time of the crash, which happened around 7:35 p.m. last Wednesday.

Rocco’s 14-month-old daughter, along with a 4-year old girl, suffered head injuries and were hospitalized following the crash. Sarnacki says both children have since been released, the 14-month old from Baystate Medical Center and the 4-year-old from Berkshire Medical Center.

Rocco has already been charged with negligent driving, two counts of reckless endangerment of a child, and two counts of driving with unrestrained children in a vehicle.

Rocco is scheduled to answer the charges during a show cause hearing Tuesday in Southern Berkshire District Court, court officials said. Sarnacki said she expects Rocco to be released from Baystate Medical Center in Springfield in time for the hearing, where she is recovering from several broken bones suffered in the crash.


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Rocco’s daughter was in the lap of her father, 27-year-old Mark Hamilton of Otis. Brandy Champiney and her 4-year-old daughter, also unrestrained, were in the back seat.

The airbags deployed, which burned the 14-month old’s face and caused her other head injuries, Sarnacki has said. The 4-year-old also suffered head injuries due to being unrestrained.

Hamilton and Champiney suffered less serious injuries and were treated and released from BMC. However, the two adults also face two counts each of reckless endangerment of a child for allowing the children to be unrestrained passengers, the chief said. Hamilton and Champ iney are also expected to appear in Southern Berkhsire District Court on Tuesday to answer the reckless endangerment charges.

To reach Dick Lindsay:
rlindsay@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6233.