Fatal crash merits 6-month jail sentence for Pittsfield resident
Nathan Reiter, 20, was driving about twice the posted 30-miles-per-hour speed limit on Henry Wood Road in Cheshire on Oct. 7, 2016, when he lost control of his vehicle.
The resulting single-car crash killed 19-year-old passenger Robert Pearson of Dalton, who was seated in the middle-rear of the car. Three other passengers in the vehicle did not suffer life-threatening injuries.
Reiter admitted to sufficient facts and was found guilty of motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation in Northern Berkshire District Court on Friday.
Despite the defense's recommendation of a year of probation without time served, Reiter was sentenced to six months in jail by Judge Paul Vrabel.
The Berkshire District Attorney's Office had requested an 18-month jail sentence, with six months served directly and the balance, one year, suspended.
At the scene of the accident, which occurred shortly before 1 a.m., Reiter initially told police that he had swerved to avoid an animal, according to the probable cause report filed by Massachusetts State Trooper Timothy Cooper.
Troopers conservatively estimated that Reiter was driving 55 to 64 miles per hour. The father of one of the accident victims would later notify police that Reiter was driving as fast as 80 to 90 miles per hour.
Pearson, a 2015 graduate of Charles H. McCann Technical School in North Adams, suffered cardiac arrest en route to Berkshire Medical Center and later died.
The two other rear passengers were taken to a hospital with back and neck injuries, while Reiter and the front-seat passenger were treated in the emergency department and released, according to the police report.
Drugs and alcohol did not play a role in the crash, according to police.
Reiter was also found responsible for a marked lanes violation and speeding.
Reach staff writer Adam Shanks at firstname.lastname@example.org @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter 413-496-6376
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