NEWTON (CBS) – Brad Casler, the driver in the fatal Sweet Tomatoes restaurant crash in Newton, will not agree to a guilty plea in the case, WBZ-TV’s I-Team Cheryl Fiandaca has learned.
Casler, 56, drove through an intersection and into the restaurant on March 1, 2016. He was charged with two counts of motor vehicle homicide and one count of driving a motor vehicle to endanger.
The crash killed Gregory Morin, 32, of Newton and Eleanor Miele, 57, of Watertown. Seven other people were hurt.
Victims’ relatives had hoped Casler would change his plea to guilty to motor vehicle homicide, and accept the sentence Judge Michael Sullivan had recommended: Two years in jail and three years probation.
“He should have had more caution when he was driving his vehicle that day,” said Mary Cicciu, Miele’s sister. “That’s what bothers me and my brothers, that he’s never really taken any responsibility for his actions.”
Now Casler is apparently gambling for something less.
In his recommendation earlier this month, Superior Court Justice Laurence Pierce said the recommended sentences would go forward if Casler pleads guilty to the charges.
As for what happens next, both sides can continue to negotiate for a plea. That would mean the Middlesex District Attorney would have to agree to less than what the judge recommended or the case goes to trial.
Defense attorneys would ask for time to prepare, with the minimum of 6 months, according to Fiandaca.
Prosecutors earlier said Casler’s Multiple Sclerosis did not play a factor in the crash – but speed did.
Prosecutors recommended the court impose the maximum sentence of 2 1/2 years for each motor vehicle homicide charge to be served consecutively; 15 years of probation for the driving-to-endanger charge; that he not drive or seek to reinstate his driver’s license; and that he perform 200 hours of community service.
Casler’s defense had recommended concurrent terms of six months house arrest with GPS monitoring; allowing for his continued medical treatment; that his driver’s license be suspended for life, that he perform 200 hours of community service; and that the negligent operation charge be dismissed.
Casler was released on personal recognizance. Prosecutors wanted him held on $10,000 bail.
Prosecutors say Casler drove his Volkswagen SUV through a red light and intersection, hitting several cars before crashing through the front of the restaurant.