‘So full of life’: Family members ID 13-year-old killed in alleged drunk driving crash in Pembroke

PEMBROKE, MASS. (WHDH) - Grief-stricken family members have identified a 13-year-old girl who died in a suspected drunken-driving crash in Pembroke on Sunday morning that left two other people injured.

Claire Zisserson was pronounced dead at Boston Children’s Hospital Sunday night, hours after the Subaru hatchback she was riding in on Route 139 was struck by a Hi-Way Safety Systems, Inc. truck driven by 31-year-old Gregory Goodsell, of Marshfield.

The driver of the hatchback, a 50-year woman, and a second 13-year-old were left seriously injured. The teen remains in the hospital at this time.

“She was a very happy person. Very full of life,” family friend Jake McPherson said. “Whenever I went over to her family’s house, whenever we went out, she was always giggling. Always laughing.”

Goodsell was ordered held without bail Monday in Plymouth District Court after pleading not guilty to charges including manslaughter while operating while under the influence, driving while under the influence of alcohol and causing serious injury, driving with an open container, negligent driving, failing to stop, improper passing, speeding and committing a marked lanes violation.

Goodsell was said to be slurring his speech when officers found him sitting on the ground with bloodshot eyes near the scene of the crash.

“I’m so (expletive) up. I know I shouldn’t have been driving,” Goodsell told officers, according to a police report that a prosecutor read in court. “I can’t believe I did this. I drank way too much. I’m so sorry.”

Goodsell allegedly admitted to officers that he was coming from a Christmas party at his manager’s home, where he drank an excessive amount of alcohol and used cocaine.

“Mr. Goodsell admitted to drinking several beers, drinking Jameson Whiskey, and using cocaine on the night prior to and into the early morning hours before the crash,” a prosecutor told the court.

A witness told police that Goodsell was “traveling at the speed of lightning” when he blew a red light and crashed his work-issued truck.

Prosecutors say police found a half-empty bottle of Jameson and an empty Budweiser can in the backseat of his truck.

Goodsell has a seven-page driving record that includes a slew of motor vehicle violations, including speeding citations, documents obtained by 7NEWS indicate.

The company Goodsell works for — Hi-Way Safety Systems — is a MassDOT contractor.

In a statement, MassDOT said, “We are saddened by this tragic incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim. MassDOT is extremely disappointed to learn of the circumstances surrounding this incident.  We require that all of our contractors adhere to strict standards of safety and we are conducting a review into the status of Hi-Way Safety Systems Inc. with regard to active MassDOT contracts.”

Loved ones say Claire had a bright future ahead and will be missed by many.

“She was just a very fun person to be around and it’s really sad that someone so full of life isn’t full of life anymore,” McPherson said.

The Plymouth County District Attorney’s Office is leading an investigation into the crash.

Goodsell is due back in court for a dangerousness hearing on Jan. 3.

A GoFundMe has been created to assist Zisserson’s family.

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