Tuesday April 17, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A 24-year-old University of Massachusetts student from Pittsfield who died Saturday when his motorcycle was struck by a car driving the wrong way on Route 116 in Hadley is being remembered as a funny and adventurous jack-of-all-trades who hoped to land a career in engineering.

Daniel J. Haley of Amherst, a student at UMass-Amherst, was fatally injured in the accident, which sent two other motorists to the hospital.

According to his father, Haley was to graduate in two weeks from UMass with a degree in chemical engineering.

"He was going to take a little time off, then go back to graduate school," James Haley said.

Haley graduated in 2006 from Pittsfield High School. At PHS, Haley was a member of Proteus, the student drama society.

"He did a lot of technical work on the sets in a lot of plays," said PHS drama director Ralph Hammann. "A great kid."

Daniel Haley attended Berkshire Community College before going to UMass, James Haley said.

Kate Sharron-Munger, Dan iel Haley’s mother, said her son played several instruments and was working at UMass’ Fine Arts Center while seeking his degree.

Sharron-Munger said Haley was always smiling and comfortable in any situation, which is one of the reasons he had so many friends.

She also said Haley loved the outdoors and riding his motorcycle, noting a 5,000-mile cross-country ride he took to see all the national parks after earning his associate degree at BCC.


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According to law enforcement authorities and published reports, Brittini Ben ton, 24, of Sunderland, was driving her Volvo the wrong way in the northbound lane of Route 116 around 2:20 a.m. on Saturday. The accident took place near McGuirk Stadium, about a quarter mile south of the exit to the University of Mass achusetts.

Benton was taken by helicopter to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, where she was discharged by Sunday night.

The accident is under investigation by Hadley Police. No criminal charges had been filed as of Monday, according to a Hadley Police Dep artment spokesman.

A Subaru Forester driven by Jon Weeks, 57, of Leyden, was also involved in the collision. Weeks was taken by ambulance to Baystate Medical Center. His condition was unavailable.

Sharron-Munger said Haley was driving home from a pool hall and was just minutes from his apartment before he was killed.