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Deer Causes Accident on Route 2

Staff Reports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A deer was killed Friday afternoon after a collission with two Jeeps. 
 
The accident occurred at about 3:30 p.m. near Galvin Road. The deer was attempting to cross Route 2 when it was struck by a dark gray Jeep Patriot heading east. The Patriot knocked the deer in a maroon Jeep Grand Cherokee heading west. 
 
The deer ended up under the Galvin Road sign on the north side of the road. Both vehicles were able to turn off the highway until first-responders arrived. No one in the two vehicles were injured. 
 
The Grand Cherokee incurred damage to its hood and lights on the passenger side. The Patriot had more extensive damage to its front end and its windshield was smashed on the driver's side. The Patriot was taken away by Cariddi Auto and  police were contacting someone who could dispose of the deer. 
 
North Adams and Williamstown Police, North Adams Fire and Northern Berkshire Ambulance responded to the scene.
 
     

North Adams Police Investigating Report of Firearms Discharged

Staff Reports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Police are investigating shots that were fired in the Greylock Valley Apartments neighborhood on Thursday night.
 
"Officers did respond to the area of Angelli Street and Grant Street for report of several shots fired," wrote Police Chief Jason Wood in an email. "There is evidence leading us to believe a firearm was discharged."
 
The report of shots being fired was called into the police at 9:27 p.m. but no one who could implicated in the shooting was at the scene when police arrived. Wood did not say what evidence was found.  
 
"Fortunately, at this time, there does not appear to be any injuries to persons or property," he said. 
 
The incident is still under active investigation by the North Adams Police Detective Bureau and the state police Crime Prevention and Control Unit.
     

Motor Vehicle Hit by Tree on Massachusetts Avenue

Staff Reports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A tree limb smashed through the windshield of a Honda sport utility vehicle on Massachusetts Avenue Extension on Thursday evening
 
The driver was heading east when a tree fell on the south side of the road at about 5:20 p.m. Police, fire and Northern Berkshire EMS responded. The driver was uninjured but Honda incurred significant damage to the roof, windshield and hood. A piece of wood also pierced the back passenger tire. 
 
The road was briefly closed until the tree could be cut up by firefighters and the SUV towed away.
     

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. 
     

Mass MoCA Director Facing Charges in Fatal Crash

Staff Reports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The director of the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art is being charged in the fatal accident last year that killed an Adams man. 
 
According to reports in The Berkshire Eagle on Thursday, Joseph Thompson is scheduled to be arraigned on June 19 on a charge of motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation in Northern Berkshire District Court. 
 
A 2001 Harley-Davidson motorcycle driven by Steven Fortier, 49, of Adams collided with Thompson's 2015 Audi on Church Street near the intersection with Ashland. Fortier was heading south and Thompson north the evening of July 20, 2018. 
 
A show-cause hearing was held on May 9. Police Chief Jason Wood told The Eagle that the department had waited on the state police reconstruction report before determining whether to move forward with charges. 
 
Thompson's attorney, Timothy Shugrue, says his client is not guilty of the misdemeanor, noting to The Eagle that it had been confirmed by police that Thompson had not had alcohol or was in use of his phone. 
 
"I'm very confident that he's innocent and I'm very confident it's going to be found that way," he told The Eagle.
 
Fortier had been at the Mohawk Tavern the night of the accident and his condition, according to witnesses, along with several unrelated incidents regarding overserving, led to the bar's hours being reduced for several months last fall.  
     
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