Becket Motorcycle Accident Kills One
BECKET, Mass. — A 59-year-old Swiss woman was killed in a motorcycle accident Monday afternoon in Becket.
Lorenza Bernasconi-Galli was operating a 2007 Honda BTM, three-wheeled motorcycle west on the Massachusetts Turnpike when she drifted into the breakdown lane and struck the guard rail, according to state police from the Westfield barracks.
The trike and rider continued west for 188 feet before the rider was ejected. Bernasconi-Galli was fatally injured in the crash and pronounced dead at the scene.
The accident occurred at about 3:27 p.m. at mile marker 16.8 in Becket. Two other bikers were traveling with the victim but were unhurt.
The far right travel lane and breakdown lane were closed for approximately three hours during the investigation. No traffic delays were reported.
The facts and circumstances of the crash remain under investigation by Troop E with the assistance of troopers assigned to the Crash Analysis and Reconstruction Section and the Crime Scene Services Section. Troopers were assisted at the scene by the Department of Transportation Highway Division.
Woman Pleads Guilty in Fatal Accident
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — An East Longmeadow woman was sentenced on Monday afternoon in Berkshire Superior Court to prison for her role in a drunken-driving accident two years ago that killed a Becket man.
Catherine A. Rivet, 30, of Parker Street, pleaded guilty to single countes of motor vehicle homicide while under the influence of alcohol and operating to endanger, failure to stay in marked lanes, speeding and possession of marijuana.
Thomas A. Sacchetti Jr., 42, of Prince John Drive, was a passenger in Rivet's 1997 Ford Contour in the early morning hours of Oct. 11, 2008. She was driving at a high rate of speed along Route 20 near the Chester line when she lost control and flipped her car. Sacchetti was pronounced dead at the scene.
Judge John A. Agostini ordered Rivet to serve three to five years in the Massachusetts Correctional Institute at Framingham on the motor vehicle homicide charge, to be served concurrently with six months in House of Correction on the possession charge. She was found responsble for the two traffic charges.
The investigation was conducted by members of the Becket Police Department and accident reconstruction specialists assigned to the Massachusetts State Police.
Thousands Without Power in Neighboring Counties
Our neighbors east of the Berkshires were hard hit by last night's severe thunderstorms. Thousands were left without power and Western Massachusetts Electric Co. says that 31,000 customers were still out at 10:30 this morning. It may take several days until all customers are fully restored.
Officials say they have engaged the help of contractor and neighboring utility crews to assist with damage assessment, clean up and restoration efforts, after overnight winds, heavy rain and lightning caused extensive damage in WMECo's service territory.
Hardest hit towns include: Amherst, Bernardston, Buckland, Deerfield, Easthampton, Gill, Greenfield, Hadley, Hatfield, Montague, Shelburne and Springfield. Currently there are more than 440 trouble spots.
In Berkshire County, about a 100 customers are still affected in Becket, Lanesborough, Otis, Sandisfield and Tyringham. The storm blew through North Berkshire around 11 p.m. on Wednesday.
National Grid was also reporting a large number of outages in Central Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick was visiting Turners Falls this afternoon to view the damage.
Because of the large number of road closures, WMECo plans to use a helicopter patrol over Franklin and Hampshire counties to better assess the amount of damage to its distribution system. WMECo said it continues to evaluate the extent of damage; at this time restoration times are not available.
In terms of numbers of customers affected, WMECo said early indications show that this storm's impact is comparable to the December 2008 ice storm.
The utility is reminding people not to go anywhere near downed wires and report them immediately by calling 911 or WMECo at 1-800-286-2000. Don't operate generators indoors and make sure they are installed by a licensed electrician.
For more information, go to the Storm Center. You can also follow their Twitter feed.