BILLERICA (CBS) – Wearing a tan jail jumpsuit and using a walker, Brad Casler told the I-Team, “I wish I had died back then not Eleanor or Greg or the other people that were hurt.”
Casler was sentenced to four years in jail for killing Eleanor Miele and Greg Morin and injuring seven others after he lost control of an SUV and crashed into a Newton pizza shop. Casler, who has multiple sclerosis, called it an accident and that he suffered a medical episode just before the crash.
The 57-year-old says he’s still struggling to understand what happened and how he ended up behind bars. He told the I-Team nothing like this had ever happened to him before and that day he didn’t feel sick, saying. “If I wasn’t feeling well I wouldn’t have been on the road.”
It happened on March 1, 2016. Casler was driving his SUV when he crashed into Sweet Tomatoes pizza shop on Washington Street in Newton injuring seven people and killing Miele and Morin. “Because of me, because of some unexpected, unintentional act, these people were hurt and two people perished. I think about that 24 hours a day,” he said.
Casler has lived with multiple sclerosis for thirty years. He said he doesn’t remember much about that day, but that his MS caused him to lose control of his SUV.
Prosecutors charged Casler with two counts of motor vehicle homicide and driving to endanger. They argued in court that it was reckless for him to drive with MS. Casler’s defense attorney told jurors the crash was not a crime, but a tragic accident.
After days of testimony, a jury found him guilty. During his sentencing, Casler apologized to the victims.
When the I-Team asked if there was anything he would do differently, he said,””I might have shown or spoke more empathy for the families than I did. I can’t change it I can just move forward. I hope for their benefit that they can also.”
“It was a tough case and emotional case,” said Casler’s attorney, Tom Giblin, who believes the jury got it wrong. “It’s a shame that he was put in jail for four years for someone with a disability like that. And it slaps every person who has a disability in the face. That there but for the grace of God go them,” he said.
Casler, now an inmate at the Billerica House of Correction, has already served three months of his four year sentence. He tells the I-Team he hopes to go to law school when he is released and vows that he will never drive again. When asked if he thought he did anything wrong, he said, “I wish I had delved into with my doctors in the past 20-30 years and had a discussion about driving, which never came about. The state reissued my license 2-3-4 times. Without hearing from my doctor saying this or that, you think you’re doing OK, or you believe you are.”
Eleanor Miele’s family had no comment on the story. In a statement, Greg Morin’s wife said: Our plea to Mr.Casler for an end to this incredibly difficult process continues to fall on deaf ears. After dragging us into court for over two years, Mr. Casler still fails to accept responsibility for his actions that resulted in the tragic loss of my husband and our daughter’s father. We believe that the court process was more than fair to Mr. Casler and hope to be able to put this part behind us.
Casler is appealing his sentence.