EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 17, 2013

Police: Driver charged in fatal DWI crash caught drinking again

By Mike LaBella
mlabella@eagletribune.com

---- — HAVERHILL — A city woman who is accused of a 2011 drunk driving accident that killed one of her Framingham State College classmates was ordered held without bail yesterday for allegedly drinking alcohol at a Framigham bar on Friday in violation of the terms of her pre-trial probation.

At a hearing yesterday in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn, probable cause was found that Brooke Uttley, 23, of 30 Littlefield Court, Haverhill, violated the court’s order to refrain from drinking.

Uttley is charged with motor vehicle homicide, operating to endanger and operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol causing serious bodily injury in connection with the Dec. 3, 2011, crash that killed Ashley Donahue, 20, of Bridgewater. Three other people were injured in the crash, which came after a night of partying, police said.

Framingham police spokesman Lt. Ronald Brandolini said yesterday that an officer who was working a detail at T.G.I. Friday’s in Framingham on Friday evening saw Uttley at the restaurant’s bar.

“He recognized her from the case as he was one of the investigators,” Brandolini said. “He believed she wasn’t supposed to be drinking due to her pre-trial probation.”

At her arraignment April 5, 2012 in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn, Uttley was released on conditions that included not drinking and undergoing random alcohol screenings.

Brandolini said the officer sent a text message to the assistant district attorney who is handling the case against Uttley, asking if she was allowed to drink under the conditions of her release. He said the officer then interviewed Uttley, who told him she was drinking cranberry juice and denied knowing there was vodka in the drink. A bartender told the officer that Uttley was drinking alcohol. Brandolini said a receipt from the bar showed that Uttley was drinking a cranberry juice and vodka cocktail.

He said one of Uttley’s friends who was with her at the bar told police that Uttley had ordered a cranberry-vodka drink.

“The next day we obtained a warrant and Haverhill arrested her and we picked her up,” Brandolini said.

Police said Uttley was also at the same bar the previous Friday.

“An officer who was on duty the previous week said she was there, and the bartender said she was, and I believe she was drinking the same thing,” Brandolini said.

According to Haverhill police, Uttley was arrested at the police station at 7:45 p.m. on Saturday.

Brandolini said Uttley was held pending her court hearing yesterday.

Stephanie Chelf, a spokeswoman for the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office, said that at yesterday’s hearing, Assistant District Attorney Darina Belot asked that Uttley’s bail be revoked and that she be held pending her trial. Chelf said Assistant Clerk Magistrate Matthew Day allowed the motion and ordered Uttley held without bail. Uttley is expected to go on trial in June. Chelf said she must appear May 8 for a pre-trial conference.

Uttley’s case was moved from district court to superior court after she was indicted by a Middlesex County grand jury on March 27, 2012. Officials said a district court does not have jurisdiction in cases of felony motor vehicle homicide.

Prosecutors said Uttley was driving drunk when she lost control of her Honda Civic and it struck a utility pole near 3 Badger Road in Framingham. The crash happened around 2:20 a.m. on Dec. 3, 2011.

Uttley’s blood alcohol level shortly after the crash was determined to be .10, according to prosecutors. The legal limit is .08.

Police said the three passengers injured were Holly Benson of East Bridgewater, Francesca Santiago of Sharon and Dylan Cosford of Windsor, Ontario.

According to a police report, on the evening of Dec. 2, Uttley’s friends had thrown a birthday party for her at the Ashland she shared with several roommates. It was Uttley’s 22nd birthday. Early the next morning, Uttley left the party to bring some friends back to their Framingham dorms when the crash occurred, police said.

According to the police report, when officers arrived at the scene, they found Uttley hiding behind a large tree, covered in blood and talking on her cell phone. Police said she was telling someone on the phone that “we are all OK” and “we’ll be right there.”

Police found Donahue in woods about 20 feet from where they found Uttley hiding. Authorities said Donahue had been ejected from the vehicle and died at the scene.

One of Uttley’s passengers told police that just prior to the crash Uttley was driving “nuts” and that he told her to slow down three times, but she continued driving in the same manner.

According to statements made at her arraignment in Framingham, Uttley was driving at a speed police later estimated as 65 to 75 mph in a 25-mph zone.