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Robin Sullivan stands on Pelham Street next to the Route 93 bridge where her father, Dick Gregoire, was killed in 2005. Gregoire's car had broken down and as he got out of his car was struck by a motorist who was unlicensed and uninsured. His daughter is now pushing for a state law that would mandate blood testing for all drivers involved in serious accidents.

METHUEN | After Robin Sullivan's father was killed, the 42-year-old mother questioned state troopers and the district attorney's office. She pored over accident reports and her dad's autopsy results. She even hired a firm to reconstruct the crash.

But the answer Sullivan is looking for can only be found in a test that was never given.

Sullivan, daughter of the late Dick Gregoire, killed at age 64, is backing a proposed law that would require every driver involved in a fatal crash to submit to tests that screen for drug and alcohol use.

State law only requires police to test drivers who appear to be impaired. But, if passed, the new law would require testing of every driver within two hours of a fatal accident. Sullivan believes the proposed law should include testing for drivers in both fatal and serious crashes.

Sullivan, a Salem, N.H., resident, was prepared to file legislation of her own and had already collected hundreds of signatures on an Internet petition when she learned about the pending bill from state Rep. Linda Dean Campbell, D-Methuen, last week.

"This is exactly what she was looking for," Campbell said.

The proposed law was filed by state Rep. Karyn Polito, R-Shrewsbury. The bill is being reviewed by the Mental Health and Substance Abuse Committee, according to Campbell's office.

"This legislation is very worthwhile. ... So many accidents are related to drivers under the influence," Campbell said.

Sen. Steven Baddour, D-Methuen, said he also supports the bill in concept. The proposal, however, raises many questions about constitutional rights and even practical concerns for police officers who would be required to administer more tests.

"We have to make sure we strike the appropriate balance between public safety and constitutional rights," Baddour said. "But I'm willing to step up, work with everyone, and see if we can pass a bill that also passes constitutional muster."

Daniel Gadomski, 34, the Haverhill driver who struck and killed Sullivan's father, was never given a blood or Breathalyzer test on Aug. 31, 2005.

That night, Dick Gregoire pulled over his Ford Taurus on the access road from Interstate 93 to Pelham Street in Methuen. Gregoire had his flashing hazard lights on, and was outside his car holding a flashlight, Sullivan said.

But as her father stood next to the vehicle, Gadomski, at the wheel of a Ford Bronco, struck Gregoire, throwing him. The Bronco then skidded and was struck from behind by a car. The second crash caused the Bronco to run over Gregoire and land on top of him, leaving an 88-foot skid mark.

Gadomski, who had a suspended license, an unregistered and uninsured vehicle, and a eight-page driving record, was never tested for alcohol or drug use that night.

The next morning, he went to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and had his license reinstated -- just 12 hours after he was involved in the fatal accident.

Despite Gadomski's extensive record and other factors in the crash -- faulty equipment on his Bronco and his failure to wear glasses, state police investigators concluded that he didn't have enough time to avoid striking Gregoire on the unlit access road.

The only charge brought against Gadomski was driving with a suspended license, second offense. He waived his right to a jury trial and agreed to a one-year suspended sentence that included 90 days in jail. Gadomski was released after serving 35 days.

Gregoire, whose wife, Susan, is a seventh-grade teacher at Tenney Grammar School in Methuen, was the owner of Dick's Auto Body and Repair and Rockingham Self Storage on Route 125 in Plaistow, N.H.

Sullivan and her brother Shaun Gregoire now run the business. Dick Gregoire also ran Park Porsche in Lawrence.

The past two years have brought a multitude of emotions for Sullivan and her family. She admits her sadness over the loss of her father is often countered by her frustration and anger with what she calls a botched justice system.

Sullivan said she will forever wonder if drugs or alcohol played a role in her dad's death.

"My father didn't deserve this," Sullivan said. "I made a promise to him that I'm never going to quit."

The Internet petition she launched has 225 signatures and comments from people around the country. And Sullivan said there are many days she picks up the paper, reads about other accident victims, and wonders how their families are coping.

When Campbell told her about the pending bill last week, Sullivan said she "was thrilled to learn of it. I said, 'Can I jump on board?' I will do whatever I can to testify and help."

Sullivan said she knows she can never bring her father back. But she can help someone else.

"I need to make something positive happen because this happens all the time," she said.

Staff writer Jill Harmacinski can be reached at 978-946-2209 or by e-mail at JHarmacinski@eagletribune.com.



If you want to sign

Sullivan's petition can be found at www.thepetitionsite.com/1/dicks-law.

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