Driver charged with vehicular homicide in Lenox pedestrian's death

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LENOX — A Lee resident is facing a misdemeanor charge of motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation in the death of Patrick H. Kelly, 32, a pedestrian who was struck and killed across from his Lenox home on Nov. 30.

Jared Gonzalez, 35, of Housatonic Street, was issued a summons following an extensive joint investigation with state police, said Lenox Police Chief Stephen O'Brien.

Gonzalez was heading from west on Housatonic Street toward the Route 7 and 20 bypass around 3 p.m. when he struck Kelly, who was retrieving the mail from the family's mailbox directly across from his home.

"This was certainly through no fault of his own," O'Brien said.

Gonzalez was driving a 2002 Buick sedan registered to Taxico Inc., a cab company in Great Barrington, at the time.

Officers Michael Smith and Tyler Bosworth responded to the accident near 302 Housatonic St. First responders from the Lenox Fire Department and Lee Ambulance tried to revive Kelly, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Massachusetts State Police Crash Analysis Reconstruction Service assisted at the scene, along with the state Medical Examiner's office, which took over jurisdiction of the case.

Also assisting was the state police detective unit assigned to the Berkshire District Attorney's office, O'Brien said. "They were an integral part of the investigation with Bosworth, who was the investigating officer."

"Through several different avenues, we were able to confidently say that this accident was caused by negligent operation of the motor vehicle," O'Brien said.

Specifics are not being issued yet because the investigation is still ongoing, he said, "but we have developed significant information that deems that there was some negligent operation of that motor vehicle."

An application has been filed by Lenox Police to the Southern Berkshire District Court for a complaint against Gonzalez, the chief said, unless the driver requests a hearing.

According to state law, upon conviction the misdemeanor charge carries a potential sentence of 30 days to 2 1/2 years in the House of Correction or by a fine ranging from $300 to $3,000. The motorist could lose his driver's license for up to 15 years on a first offense.

Kelly, who lived with his parents, grew up in Lee and graduated from Lenox Memorial Middle and High School. He was employed in maintenance for St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Pittsfield. According to Thomas Campoli, a family friend, he worked out regularly, bowled with friends, and enjoyed and cared for his home.

His mother described him as a "responsible and gentle soul who was well liked by all who met him," Campoli told The Eagle last month. "He set an example for all of us to reach our full potential."

Reach correspondent Clarence Fanto at cfanto@yahoo.com or 413-637-2551.

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