Home About Archives RSS Feed

Thompson Charged With Vehicular Homicide

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Joseph C. Thompson, 60, pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to charges related to a fatal collision on July 20, 2018.
 
He is charged with motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation and a marked lanes violation in the death of Steven Fortier, 49.
 
Thompson, director of Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, was arraigned in Northern Berkshire District Court and released on personal recognizance. A pretrial conference was set for Aug. 9. 
 
According to police reports made available Wednesday, Fortier was southbound on his Harley-Davidson motorcycle at about 10 p.m. when he collided with Thompson's northbound Audi sport utility vehicle. 
 
Thompson and his passenger, Jodi Joseph, the museum's director of communications, told police that they were on Church Street and approaching south of the fork with Ashland Street when they saw a single headlight in their northbound lane. Thompson said he veered into the southbound lane in an attempt to avoid the motorcycle but believed Fortier corrected his direction and re-entered his lane, striking the Audi. 
 
The charges were brought after the completion of the investigation and a show-cause hearing in May before Clerk-Magistrate Kenneth Chaffee, who determined there was sufficient evidence to move forward with criminal charges. 
 
"Because intent is not an essential element of vehicular homicide, the defense of accident is not available," he wrote. "In hindsight, Thompson's choice to maneuver his vehicle into the southbound lane, rather than stop or drive elsewhere, resulted in the collision and the death of Fortier."
 
Toxicology tests show that Fortier had a blood alcohol level of .28 percent, or more than four times the legal limit. Chaffee wrote that did "not excuse the defendant's conduct."
 
The police report states that after the collision, Thompson told Joseph to call 911 and, after getting out of the car to check on Fortier with other unidentified people, returned to the Audi and drove with a flat tire back into the northbound lane and parked it in the breakdown lane with its hazard lights on. 
 
Police arrived within a few minutes and found Fortier still alive but face down on the pavement in the northbound lane with serious injuries, including head and facial trauma. He had been wearing an open face helmet; his helmet, boots and vest were scattered with the debris from the collision. 
 
Two witnesses at the scene told police they thought Thompson had tried to flee the scene. One said Thompson had attempted to move the Audi "in a rapid manner" and that he had told him not to leave. Neither could clarify their impressions to state Trooper Zachary Wood other than "they believed by the way he attempted to operate the Audi he was trying to leave."
  
Officer David Sherman, who wrote the report, said it appeared that Fortier had collided with the "A" pillar on the passenger side of the Audi, the part of the frame where the door attaches to the front end. There was heavy damage to the passenger door, frame and windshield as well as the flat tire.
 
The police determined that Thompson had crossed the double yellow line and was in the southbound lane at the time of the collision. 
1 Comments
     

Support Local News

We show up at hurricanes, budget meetings, high school games, accidents, fires and community events. We show up at celebrations and tragedies and everything in between. We show up so our readers can learn about pivotal events that affect their communities and their lives.

How important is local news to you? You can support independent, unbiased journalism and help iBerkshires grow for as a little as the cost of a cup of coffee a week.

News Headlines
Messy Mix of Ice, Rain, Snow Expected Monday Night
BCAC Taps Community For Needs Assessment
North Adams Historical Society Waiting on Library Room Renovation
Williamstown Fire District Voters to Select New Board Members
Williams Women Advance on PKs in NCAA Tournament
Demartinis Leads MCLA Men to Second Win
Williams Men and Women Win NCAA Cross Country Regional
Pittsfield Preparing Morningside Fire Station RFP
Brien Center Honors Two at Annual UNICO Dinner
Karpowicz Leads Williams Men's Basketball to Season-Opening Win

Police Logs

Pittsfield Police

North Adams

Crimewatch Links

North Adams CrimeWatch

Stamford/Clarksburg CrimeWatch

Pittsfield CrimeWatch

Emergency: 911
Adams 413-743-1212
Clarksburg 413-663-7795
Cheshire 413-743-1501
Dalton 413-684-0300
Great Barrington 413-528-0306
Lanesborough 413-443-4107
Lee 413-243-2100
Lenox 413-637-2346
North Adams 413-664-4944
Pittsfield 413-448-9700
Richmond 413-698-3315
Stockbridge 413-298-4179
Williamstown 413-458-5733
West Stockbridge 413-232-7938
State Police  
Cheshire Barracks
413-743-
4700
Lee Barracks 413-243-0600
Shaftsbury, Vt., Barracks 802-442-3263

 



Categories:
Adams (83)
Alford (0)
Becket (7)
Cheshire (23)
Clarksburg (41)
Dalton (5)
Egremont (2)
Florida (7)
Great Barrington (29)
Hancock (5)
Hinsdale (5)
Lanesborough (30)
Lee (14)
Lenox (11)
Monterey (0)
Mount Washington (0)
New Ashford (5)
New Marlborough (2)
North Adams (236)
Otis (2)
Peru (3)
Pittsfield (298)
Pownal (15)
Readsboro (16)
Richmond (9)
Sandisfield (5)
Savoy (5)
Sheffield (5)
Stamford (31)
State (1)
Stockbridge (5)
Tyringham (1)
Washington (1)
West Stockbridge (1)
Williamstown (78)
Windsor (3)
Archives:
November 2019 (2)
October 2019 (9)
September 2019 (6)
August 2019 (13)
July 2019 (18)
June 2019 (9)
May 2019 (9)
April 2019 (9)
March 2019 (17)
February 2019 (8)
Tags:
Homicide Drugs Shooting Armed Robbery Motor Vehicle Accident Fraud Fatal Search & Rescue Rape Structure Fire Police Investigation Larceny Search Motorcycles Buglaries Assaults Injuries Missing Persons Mvi Firearms Veremko Pedestrians Drug Charges Break-ins Murder Stabbing Fire Motor Vehicle Crime Watch Robbery Hit & Run Assault Accident Heroin Vehicle
Popular Entries:
Great Barrington Crashes Leave Two Dead
North Adams Woman Killed in Route 2 Crash
Clarksburg Selectman Responds
Man Killed by Bull in Clarksburg
Clarksburg Talks Burglary
North Adams Man Crashes SUV Into Home
North Adams Man Arraigned On Charges Of Animal Cruelty; Pleads Not Guilty
Kincaid Pleads Guilty to Aggravated Rape
Fatal Accident Closes Route 8 in Adams
Drug Ring King Sentenced to Cedar Junction
Recent Entries:
Adams Firefighters Quickly Douse Dryer Fire
Trick-or-Treater Struck by Vehicle in Williamstown
Authorities Make Arrest in Adams Structure Fire Incident
Two-Vehicle Crash on Mass Ave Injures Four
North Adams Police Arrest Suspect in Armed Robberies
North Adams Man Killed, 2 Injured in Route 8 Crash
Authorities Release Details of Alleged Assault at Simon's Rock
Pittsfield Man Charged with Setting A-Mart Convenience Store Blaze
Propane Tank Explosion in Cheshire Destroys Property
Pittsfield Man Struck, Killed by Tractor-Trailer