Was Fatal I-95 Crash That Killed Bedford Man Preventable?
By Laurel Sweet
WOBURN -- State police Col. Kerry Gilpin has launched an investigation into her department’s handling of events leading up to a fatal crash last summer that killed a Bedford man just minutes after a trooper had let the woman charged with initiating the accident go free.
The family of Christopher Weisz, 42, a father of three, a Boy Scout leader and a Cornell University graduate, decried his death as “completely preventable” at a court hearing they’d hoped would reveal the findings of a Massachusetts State Police reconstruction analysis of the Aug. 24 fatal collision on Interstate 95 north in Reading.
The state police have confirmed that Lynn Dewolfe, 51, of Tyngsboro -- a hairdresser twice convicted of intoxicated driving who court documents show had an interlock-device restriction on her license to prevent her from driving while drunk -- had been involved in another crash in Burlington that same morning, but a trooper let her drive away from the scene because he did not detect any impairment. But Dewolfe was also “the subject of multiple concerned motorists’ calls to 911 dispatch regarding erratic operation,” court records state.
“We have determined that the district attorney’s Office was not in possession of all relevant information related to the Dewolfe case. Colonel Gilpin, with the support of the administration, has ordered an independent and thorough investigation to determine how and why this occurred,” state police spokesman David Procopio said in a statement yesterday. He did not elaborate.
Dewolfe’s pretrial hearing yesterday was continued to May 31 by Woburn District Court Judge Timothy H. Gailey. The delay was requested by Dewolfe’s lawyer A.J. Blank and Assistant Middlesex District Attorney Julie Kunkel, who had only just received a 79-page report on the circumstances surrounding the crash and wanted time to digest it. Gailey also indicated a delay was warranted “in light of the possibility of other charges” Dewolfe could face.
A separate state police report states that Weisz’s motorcycle was struck by a vehicle slammed into by Dewolfe’s 2008 Saab sedan.
She is charged with her third impaired driving offense, leaving the scene of an accident causing personal injury, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and leaving the scene of a crash causing property damage.
She has two prior drunken driving convictions stemming from incidents in 1987 and 2005, according to her Board of Probation record. She told state police who arrested her Aug. 24 clad in a bathing suit and flip-flops she had taken Lorazepam and gabapentin before heading out to Hampton Beach, N.H. Dewolfe declined comment yesterday.
Also in attendance was Weisz’s widow, Alexis, son Maxwell, 13, and daughter Grace, 11, and Weisz’s best friend Peter Ricci, who spoke on their behalf.
“They were expecting the accident report to be released by now. They were expecting to have a better understanding this morning of what was going on,” Ricci said. “Chris Weisz was a loving husband and friend, son and brother. ... All of us miss him every day.”