Prosecutors Say Driver’s MS Not Cause Of Fatal Sweet Tomatoes Crash

WOBURN (CBS) — The Newton man charged in the fatal crash at Sweet Tomatoes restaurant last March pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Monday in Middlesex Superior Court.

Bradford Casler, 55, was charged earlier this month with two counts of motor vehicle homicide and one count of operating a motor vehicle to endanger.

Prosecutors said his Multiple Sclerosis did not play a factor in the crash–but speed did.

I-Team: Medical Condition Raises Questions About Who Is Fit To Drive

He was released on personal recognizance. Prosecutors wanted him held on $10,000 bail.

They said Casler drove his Volkswagen SUV through a red light and intersection, hitting several cars before crashing through the front of the restaurant on March 1.

The SUV crashed into the restaurant March 1, 2016. (WBZ-TV)

The SUV crashed into the restaurant March 1, 2016. (WBZ-TV)

According to the District Attorney, Casler said his break pedal stuck–but investigators found nothing wrong with his SUV.

“Essentially, the defendant accelerated through the intersection at Washington Street through a red light, clipped two vehicles, and then drove straight into the Sweet Tomatoes restaurant,” said Prosecutor Christopher Tarrant in court Monday.

One witness said Casler was driving so fast, a wind blew as the SUV passed.

Two people were killed, 32-year-old Gregory Morin of Newton and 57-year-old Eleanor Miele of Watertown. Seven other people were hurt.

Eleanor Miele and Gregory Morin (Family Photo/WBZ-TV)

Eleanor Miele and Gregory Morin (Family Photo/WBZ-TV)

 

Miele’s relatives were in court Monday for Casler’s arraignment.

Casler’s attorney, David , said his client has “nothing but sadness and sorrow” about what happened.

“At the end of the day, this was truly a tragic accident,” Meier said after Casler’s arraignment. “I think the evidence in court is going to bear that out.”

After the crash, Casler’s driver’s license was revoked. His attorney said he has not driven since he was taken from the scene, and “will likely never drive again.”

Both attorneys mentioned that Casler has Multiple Sclerosis, but said the crash was not caused by his disease.

Meier said that, for the past 27 years, his client has been treated for MS at area hospitals. Those treatments include daily injections, as well as monthly intravenous infusions.

The exact details of the charges are not yet known, as the court documents related to the case have been impounded pending a Thursday hearing.

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said the “complicated” nature of the investigation was the reason it took so long to bring charges against Casler.

More: Charges Brought After ‘Full And Fair’ Sweet Tomatoes Investigation, DA Says

”These are complicated situations,” said Ryan. “We do a full and fair investigations. In these situations, it takes a long time. We are also often dependent on information from other agencies, awaiting that and presenting that information to the grand jury.”

The city of Newton installed safety barriers in front of the restaurant earlier this month.

It is not yet clear when Sweet Tomatoes, which has been closed since the crash, will reopen.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

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Comments

One Comment

  1. JOHN MCMULLEN says:

    I TOO SUFER WITH M.S. AND TOTALLED MY CAR AFTER BEING PURSUE BY A CAR WHO KEPT BLOWING HIS HORN AND TAILGATTING BUT REFUSED TO PASS AS I MOVED AS FAR AS POSSIBLE TO THE RIGHT! WHEN I FINALLY GOT TO I95 SOUTH I WAS GOING TOO FAST TO NAVIGATE THE CURVE AND CROSSED THE MEDIAN THREE TIMES BEFORE AIMINGING MY CAR TO AN EARTH EMBANKMENT AND RAMMING INTO TREE.

    NO ONE WAS INJURED AND THE DRIVER COMMING OFF I95 SAW MY ERRATIC MOVEMENT, AND AFTER THE CAR STOPPED CAME UP TO ASK IF I WAS INJURED AND THEN CALLED THE POLICE

  2. Buzz says:

    Common MS symptoms which may affect driving include:
    Seizures
    Sensory (touch) problems such as tingling or numbness in hands and feet
    Visual problems such as blurred or double vision, changes in your visual field or contrast sensitivity, or a temporary loss of sight caused by optic neuritis (inflammation of the optic nerve)
    Fatigue which can make MS symptoms worse
    Loss of muscle strength, control and dexterity
    Problems with walking, balance and coordination
    Muscle spasms and stiffness (spasticity), or paralysis
    Bladder and bowel problems
    Difficulty with memory, concentration, and thinking

    Marian repeatedly tells us how complicated the ‘nature’ of the investigation was, requiring eight months to bring charges. Was blood alcohol and substance testing done immediately? Medications? Did Casler have an office based and behind-the-wheel DMV current evaluation, which is common for those dealing with MS?

    The complications appear to be concerned with special considerations, not offered or available to average citizen.

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