Harry Conover, 73, was arraigned in Lowell District Court on Massachusetts Drunk Driving Charges after he allegedly drove into and killed his wife outside their Chelmsford home. He was arraigned on DUI charges including Operating Under the Influence of Alcohol, Second Subsequent Offense, Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle and Vehicular Homicide by Operating Under the Influence.
According to the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Office, Harry Conover and his wife, Sandra Conover, 73, reportedly got drove away after getting into an argument with his wife. His wife apparently followed him outside and Conover allegedly struck her as he was driving away. The District Attorney’s Office alleges that Conover initially continued driving but then came back after he reportedly saw his wife on the driveway. Prosecutors allege that Sandra Conover suffered a collapsed lung and blunt-force trauma to the chest and shoulder as a result of being run over.
According to the Lowell Police Department, Harry Conover allegedly admitted having had an argument with his wife, after which he had a few drinks of vodka. Lowell police report that Conover allegedly submitted to a Breathalyzer Test which registered a blood alcohol content of 0.09%, just over the legal limit; but then a second test yielded a blood-alcohol content of 0.06%, below the legal limit.
Lowell Police also reported that Harry Conover submitted to Field Sobriety Tests, though it is unclear at this time whether or not the police allege he failed them.
Following his arraignment in Lowell District Court on Massachusetts DUI Charges, Conover was released on his own personal recognizance.
Although a tremendously unfortunate incident for the family involved, Harry Conover will have to not only deal with the death of his wife, but also these pending OUI charges. In that regard, I’m not so surely convinced that there is sufficient evidence in the prosecutor’s case to sustain the charge of Motor Vehicle Homicide by OUI.
In order to convict someone for Vehicular Homicide by DUI, one of the elements the prosecutor must prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, is that the defendant operated the vehicle in a reckless or negligent manner so that the lives or safety of the public might have been endangered. In that regard, I would suggest that simply where death resulted is not enough to meet that standard – there must be some other specific indicia of recklessness or negligence that the resulting death was foreseeable under the circumstances of operation.
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