I-Team: Court Documents Reveal New Details About Deadly Sweet Tomatoes Crash

NEWTON (CBS) – Court documents reveal new details about March’s crash that killed two customers at Sweet Tomatoes restaurant in Newton.

The Middlesex District Attorney’s “statement of the case,” first obtained by the WBZ I-Team, was released by the judge on Tuesday, although some details will remain hidden from public view.

Defendant Brad Casler’s attorney had argued to keep the documents sealed because they included “excruciating detail” about the crash and would unfairly influence public opinion about the case.

Brad Casler in Middlesex Superior Court, September 19, 2016. (WBZ-TV)

Brad Casler in Middlesex Superior Court, September 19, 2016. (WBZ-TV)

The crash took the lives of Eleanor Miele and Gregory Morin, who were waiting for food near the restaurant counter.

Prosecutors had already provided some of the details during Casler’s arraignment on September 19.

However, the court documents do provide new insight about the speed of the 2011 Volkswagen Tiguan, force of the deadly collision, and eyewitness descriptions.

One witness estimated the speed of Casler’s vehicle on Chestnut Street at 70 to 80 mph and heard a “wind sound” as it passed her and ran the red light.

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

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

Another witness described the sound of the engine as “revving at its highest RPMs, like it was just skipping, like the transmission didn’t have time to shift to a higher gear because the gas must have been floored or something.”

The documents say an inspection by a Volkswagen engineer showed the engine shut down after the crash and last measured a throttle position of 94% and speed between 47 and 52 mph.

Witnesses told investigators there was no indication Casler applied his brakes or sounded his horn to alert people in the vehicle’s path.

Court documents also describe the sheer force of the moment the vehicle collided into the West Newton restaurant.

Sweet Tomatoes in West Newton (WBZ-TV)

Sweet Tomatoes in West Newton (WBZ-TV)

“It struck a mahogany bar and stools, a wooden base and granite countertop that served as the service counter, two stainless steel Expedition Tables, a steel lally column and two sets of pizza oven having a combined weight of 3,950 pounds,” the documents reveal, adding the pizza ovens were moved about four feet after impact.

Portions of the “state of the case” are redacted. They appear to be descriptions of the immediate aftermath of the crash, along with the findings of reconstruction analysis performed by investigators.

There is no mention in the publicly-available portion of documents of Casler’s multiple sclerosis. At the arraignment, prosecutors said they concluded the disease was not a factor.

Casler’s attorney, David Meier, hinted his client’s medical condition did play a role, although he has not elaborated.

The WBZ I-Team previously reported about the legal requirements surrounding medical conditions that could affect a person’s driving ability.

Casler’s license has been suspended since the crash. RMV documents show he has three previous accidents on his driving record.

Ryan Kath can be reached at rkath@cbs.com. You can follow him on Twitter or connect on Facebook.

More from Ryan Kath

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More From CBS Boston

Download Our App
Download Weather App

Listen Live