Unopposed Democratic Massachusetts State Senate nominee Joseph Bonore was recently sued for crashing into a police car in Boston in the spring of 2011. He was allegedly driving while intoxicated during the early morning crash. Ironically, the 33-year-old Boncore is also an attorney who has represented DUI defendants.
Boncore admitted to having two drinks prior to the collision. In 2012, he was acquitted by a jury in a Boston courtroom. But Fred Lane, the victim, is suing Boncore for negligence.
The civil trial is scheduled to commence on September 19 and could negatively affect Boncore’s political campaign. While Boncore won a Democratic primary election in April and is expected to win the next election in May, he is set for another vote (potentially against opponents) in September.
Boncore’s campaign spokesman, Peter Ryan, stated that Boncore consumed two drinks in the 4-5 hours prior to the accident. Ryan stressed that a Massachusetts jury privy to the case’s unique facts (including the professional opinion of an EMT that Boncore was not intoxicated at the time of evaluation) found Boncore not guilty of DUI. Regarding Boncore’s decision to refuse a Breathalyzer test, Ryan stressed that this was his legal prerogative. Ryan also highlighted Boncore’s decision to go to trial to maintain his innocence.
The police report includes observations of eye-witnesses, police officers, and an EMS worker. The report indicates that when emergency workers arrived on the morning of the incident, Fred Lane was trapped in his cruiser. He was then taken to the hospital to be treated for his injuries. Meanwhile, Boncore was unstable, smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech, and gave the office a debit card instead of his license.
Lane and several other officers testified at trial. Boncore filed a motion to suppress the evidence of Boncore’s refusal to take a Breathalyzer test and a field sobriety test. The motion was denied.
Boncore’s defense attorney said the officer’s opinion that Boncore was intoxicated was contradicted by other witnesses. Most notably, the attorney stressed, the EMT testified that Boncore didn’t seem intoxicated at the time of the accident. His attorney believes it was not even a difficult decision for the jury.
In Lane’s civil suit, he alleges that due to Boncore’s negligence, Lane was injured on his neck, head, knee, back, and hand. The complaint, which was filed in Suffolk County, alleges that Lane has incurred over $11,000 in medical expenses. Moreover, he allegedly suffered over $36,000 in lost earnings and diminished earning capacity during the time he was injured. Lane additionally alleges emotional distress.
Filings indicate that Boncore denies being negligent. He asserts that the Boston EMS attorney will testify in accordance with her earlier testimony that Boncore did not seem inebriated.
Boncore further alleges that the cause of the crash was Lane’s failure to yield the right of way. Boncore claims the evidence shows that Lane recovered entirely and rapidly, without complications, from the incident.
Lane’s attorney says to the contrary that the facts establish that Boncore drove his car after drinking at numerous bars, and then he collided with Lane’s vehicle after attempting to turn in front of it. He asserts that the evidence will show that Boncore smelled like alcohol, had slurred speech and glassy eyes, and was unstable. He believes the jury will find that Boncore was negligent, stressing the different burden of proof in a civil case versus a criminal case.
In a criminal case, the state needs to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, whereas in a civil case, the standard is “more likely than not.” Lane must prove under this more lenient standard that Boncore breached his duty to act with reasonable care, in turn causing the officer’s injuries. Lane need not prove that Boncore had a certain blood-alcohol level, but instead that Boncore did not exercise reasonable care.
Peter Ryan instead framed the lawsuit as an ongoing dispute between insurance companies.
If you have been injured by another party’s negligence, you may face significant medical bills and time off work, and you may need the assistance of a personal injury lawyer to redress your injuries. At the Neumann Law Group, our personal injury attorneys provide trustworthy legal representation to accident victims all over the state of Massachusetts. Contact us toll-free at 800-525-NEUMANN or use our online form to set up a free consultation.
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