North Adams man arrested in hit-and-run that killed Pittsfield biker

Brian Dillard enters Central Berkshire District Court on Friday to be arraigned on charges related to last week's fatal hit-and-run in Pittsfield.

PITTSFIELD — A North Adams man is being held without bail in the hit-and-run crash last week that killed Pittsfield resident Alan Keefe.

Brian Dillard, 32, was arrested late Thursday by North Adams Police, according to Pittsfield Police Sgt. Marc Maddalena.

In addition to the charges in the fatal crash, he was accused, along with another man, of participating in a break-in at the North Adams auto shop where he worked. Police also said he was driving with a license under suspension for operating under the influence.Dillard allegedly had stolen the truck from the shop, Cariddi Auto, days earlier, and, according to a witness, used it to drive to Pittsfield to purchase drugs.

"When everybody left, he jumped in a truck to come to Pittsfield," Maddalena said. "He didn't have permission." 

Dillard was driving the 2002 Dodge 2500 pickup truck about 5:40 p.m. Aug. 24 when he collided with a motorcycle near Linden and John streets.

Keefe, 49, who was on the motorcycle, was taken to Berkshire Medical Center, where he died.

Dillard allegedly ditched the truck on John Street and fled on foot. 

Witnesses provided police with a description of Dillard and a timeline of his whereabouts after the crash.

He was picked up by North Adams Police a day after his co-defendent in the break-in was sentenced in that case. 

Christopher Jelley, 30, of North Adams, told police he also helped Dillard come up with a story to try and cover up his involvement in the crash.

Jelley told police he and Dillard broke into the Cariddi Auto property through a fence early Tuesday and entered the building through a side entrance, taking a check, Cumberland Farms card and a container of change.

The two, Jelley told police, also checked vehicles for change, until an alarm in a Chrysler went off. 

Within about 15 minutes, police picked up Jelley walking on Dean Street toward Walnut Street. He was found to be in possession of a tin cookie container full of change, leading police to believe that he had broken into vehicles. 

Several employees at the shop later reported missing items, including a cookie container full of change, and owner Guy Cariddi noted damage to doors and a mailbox.

Jelley admitted in Northern Berkshire District Court on Wednesday to sufficient facts for a finding of guilty on two counts of breaking and entering a vehicle in the nighttime for a felony, and a single count of breaking and entering a building in the nighttime for a felony. 

In accordance with a joint recommendation between the defense and prosecutors, Jelley was sentenced to 120 days in jail, with two days of credit for time served.

Dillard pleaded not guilty in Northern Berkshire District Court early Friday to two counts of breaking and entering a vehicle in the nighttime for a felony, and a single count of breaking and entering a building in the nighttime for a felony. Judge Paul Vrabel set bail in the North Adams case at $1,500 cash.

After that arraignment, he was was taken to Central Berkshire District Court to answer charges in the hit-and-run case.

In arguing for detention, Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Kyle Christensen cited Dillard's previous record, which includes a number a defaults on court appearances, violations of probation, warrants and restraining orders.

Christensen said Dillard is either unable or unwilling to abide by court orders, noting that he fled the scene and has tried to avoid prosecution on his new charges.

In the hit-and-run case, he pleaded not guilty to charges of motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation, leaving the scene of personal injury and death, leaving the scene of property damage, operating a motor vehicle with a license suspended for operating under the influence, receiving a stolen motor vehicle, two counts of negligent operation of a motor vehicle and a moving violation.

He was ordered held without the right to bail for 120 days, by Judge Laurie MacLeod.

Maddalena, the Pittsfield Police sergeant, commended North Adams Police for their work in the case.

"Those guys with their connections, they were able to find out where he was and got him out of the house without any further incident," he said. 

Eagle staff writer Haven Orecchio-Egresitz contributed to this report.