Woman pleads not guilty to homicide charge in tragic South Boston crash that killed toddler

BOSTON (WHDH/AP) — A 63-year-old Boston woman pleaded not guilty Thursday to a motor vehicle homicide charge in a “chain reaction” crash that killed a toddler in a stroller and seriously injured his sister and their caretaker last year.

A Suffolk Superior Court judge ordered Charlene Casey held on $5,000 bail during her arraignment in the Boston courthouse.

Suffolk County District Attorney Rachael Rollins’ office said Casey was driving in the city’s South Boston neighborhood on July 25, 2018, when she accelerated through an intersection.

Casey’s car struck a van that then lost control and struck 22-month old Colin McGrath, his 4-year-old sister, and their caretaker as they stood on the sidewalk.

McGrath was pronounced dead at Boston Medical Center. His sister suffered broken bones, a lacerated liver, and other injuries. The caretaker was not seriously injured.

Rollins’ office argued the crash was preventable. Casey had been legally obligated to yield the right of way to other vehicles in the intersection but failed to do so, prosecutors said. A grand jury indicted Casey on Nov. 25.

In a statement, Rollins said, “The tragedy of Colin’s death is compounded by the preventable nature of the crash that claimed his young, beautiful life. This was an exhaustive investigation led by my Office and members of the Boston Police Department. I’m grateful to every member of this team for their work securing the indictment, and supporting this family.”

She added, “I would also like to thank the individuals who immediately provided aid to Colin and his sister in the wake of this crash. These efforts, and the support expressed by so many members of the community, I am sure mean a great deal to this family who is in the depths of grief. As the criminal case moves forward, Colin’s family has expressed to my Office a request for continued privacy. I urge the media to respect their wishes.”

The McGrath family also released a statement that read, “We remain enormously grateful for the support of our family, friends, community, colleagues, elected officials, the Boston Police Department, and the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office. We have trust and faith in the ongoing judicial process and ask for continued respect for our family’s privacy.”

Casey’s lawyer Steven Boozang said his client was remorseful.

“Every time she drove by, all she could do was picture the little kids,” he said outside the courthouse. “She’s a really good person and it’s a tragic, tragic accident.”

She missed her initial court appearance Thursday morning, prompting a warrant to be issued for her arrest. She faced a judge later in the day.

Casey is due back in court at later date.

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