BOSTON — The Massachusetts Appeals Court has rejected a request to order a new trial for a Salem, New Hampshire, man convicted of motor vehicle homicide and related charges after a 2016 crash in the Sumner Tunnel. 

Craig Lawlor, 28, was convicted in 2018 of manslaughter by motor vehicle, motor vehicle homicide and operating under the influence of alcohol causing serious bodily injury following a bench trial. He was sentenced to five to six years in state prison for his role in the death of Dillon Cohen, 24, also of Salem, New Hampshire.

An appeal was filed and Lawlor sought a new trial, arguing he was denied his right to a jury trial. Bench trials are held before a judge and without a jury. 

The Appeals Court, in a decision handed down Wednesday, denied a new trial and also ruled Lawlor was not previously "denied his right to a jury trial."

Lawlor had a blood alcohol level between .23 and .26 — three times the legal limit — when he crashed his pickup truck in Boston's Sumner Tunnel while driving at more than twice the speed limit, according to the Suffolk District Attorney's Office.

Cohen was pronounced dead at the scene. Another passenger, Stephen Day of Salem, New Hampshire, who was 23 at the time of the crash, suffered severe head and spinal cord injuries, but survived, investigators said. They said Lawlor suffered minor injuries.

Lawlor was sentenced to five to six years in prison, followed by two and a half years in jail. All but six months of his jail sentence is suspended for a probationary period of two years, during which time he is required to stay free of drugs and alcohol and perform 100 hours of community service.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill. 

 

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