PITTSFIELD -- The drunken car-surfing stunt changed two lives -- leaving one man with severe injuries and the other with a one-year suspended jail sentence.
Aaron Trombley, 27, of Main Street in Housatonic, and his two friends had been drinking one night in August 2012 when he allowed them to "car surf" on his wife’s Ford Expedition, according to Great Barrington Police. Trombley wasn’t supposed to be driving. His license had been revoked as a habitual traffic offender.
Trombley at first refused to allow them to get on the roof, but eventually relented, said police.
One man was able to hang on as Trombley drove down Stony Brook Road in Great Barrington at about 25 mph.
A second man, 26-year-old John Brazee of Sheffield, fell off the back of the SUV and suffered severe injuries, including three fractures to his skull, according to investigators.
A police report stated that doctors at the time weren’t sure Brazee would survive.
According to Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Daniel Hespeler, after Brazee’s fall, Trombley and the other man put Brazee into the SUV and drove back to their friend’s house. Trombley’s wife then drove Brazee to the hospital,
"[Trombley] didn’t go to the hospital because he was afraid of the police and had alcohol on his breath," Hespeler said in court on Monday. Hespeler said Trombley initially misled investigators by denying he was the driver.
Brazee continues to suffer from his injuries. He has metal plates in his head, is partially deaf in one ear, and needs a cane to help him get around, according to Hespeler.
Hespeler asked Trombley get a one-year direct jail sentence with two years of probation.
Trombley’s attorney, Harry E. Conklin, called the incident "tragic," and said his client did attempt to help his friend after the fall. The attorney said alcohol played a big part in the night’s events.
Since then, Conklin said Trombley hasn’t been in any trouble and stopped drinking alcohol. Conklin asked that his client receive a six-month suspended sentence and six months probation.
On Monday in a Jury of Six session of Central Berkshire District Court, Trombley pleaded guilty to negligent operation of a motor vehicle, driving with a revoked license for being a habitual traffic offender, driving with a suspended license as a subsequent offense, and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident.
Judge Philip A. Beattie gave Trombley a one-year suspended jail sentence with a year’s probation. During the probation, Trombley must remain alcohol free and take any prescribed medication.
The judge continued a charge of witness intimidation -- for misleading police -- without a finding of guilt for a year.
Trombley was not charged with drunken driving in connection with the incident.