The Faces of High Behind the Wheel

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Turner Russell was training to run the Boston Marathon for charity when she was hit.
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Augustus “Gus” Adamopoulos from Ludlow, Mass., was 10 years old when he was killed on August 17, 2010. Gus and his father, Jim, were paddling their kayak around Norwich Lake in Huntington when a boat operated by Steven Morse of Westfield ran over the pair at high speed. Prosecutors say Morse was drunk and had marijuana in his system when his boat hit the father and son. But Morse’s attorney argued it was sun glare that caused Morse to crash and the jury acquitted him of operating under the influence. Prosecutors, police and Gus’s father lament how difficult it can be to prove drug impairment. Morse was convicted of a misdemeanor version of boat homicide and lying to police. He served two-and-a-half years of a five-year prison sentence. Gus loved to play golf and basketball in his hometown of Ludlow where he lived with his parents, Jim and Helen, and older sister, Ava. He dreamt of becoming a professional athlete. The prosecutor told the jury that as Gus’s father cradled his son’s body, Gus said peacefully, “Let me die.”
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Joseph Brady from Stoughton, Mass., was 71 when he was killed on December 11, 2015. He was a loving husband, father, stepfather, brother, grandfather and great-grandfather. The 71-year-old was walking back to work across Route 27 in Stoughton, when police say he was struck and killed by a vehicle driven by an alleged drugged driver. Prosecutors say it is incredibly difficult to prove OUI-drug cases and they could not make their case. Though the driver was charged with motor vehicle homicide while operating under the influence of drugs, he was found not guilty in a bench trial last September. Brady’s family says Brady died doing what he loved -- heading out to work on the Christmas tree lot he had run for nearly five decades. Brady owned House of Wheels in Brockton before retiring in 2015. He was the sole source of income for his wife, on dialysis for kidney failure. The much-loved family man was a member of the New England Antique Racers Hall of Fame, and also owned his own race car.
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39-year-old Michael Carfagna was hit by an SUV driven by an alleged drugged driver last February. He was walking on the sidewalk along Washington Street in Weymouth when police say 51-year-old Thomas Mohan of Westfield veered off the road. Mohan has pleaded not guilty and his court case is ongoing. Carfagna suffered a brain hemorrhage, broken bones, a torn aorta and was in a coma for five weeks. He is in near-constant pain, buckling under the costs of his medical care and can no longer work to support his family. “My life is changed forever,” he told us. The alleged drugged driver, 51-year-old Thomas Mohan of Westfield has been indicted on charges of OUI-drugs. Michael Carfagna may walk very slowly, sometimes using a cane, but the fact he can even move on his own is amazing. Carfagna loves motorcycles, fishing, spending time with his family, and playing basketball. He and his fiancee have five kids and two grandchildren.
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MSP
Trooper Thomas Clardy was killed March 16 when a driver who prosecutors say was under the influence of marijuana slammed into his cruiser, pulled over on the Mass Pike in Charlton. The driver has pleaded not guilty and his court case is ongoing. 44-year-old Clardy, a retired Marine, leaves behind his wife and seven children. He began his career with the Massachusetts State Police in 2004. He was a member of the Mormon Church of the Latter Day Saints. According to his obituary, his children were his life and he was busy with their various activities. “He will always be remembered as a loving husband and father and his ability to bring a smile to everyone around him with his great sense of humor,” it reads.
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After she died, her family and the group “We’re One Wilmington” came together to create the Kim Forte Walk held every April. The money raised funds a scholarship for a Middlesex Community College Dental Assistant student. Sharon, Kim’s younger sister says, “Always remember to start every day with a smile as Kim did. Your smile may be the only one a person gets that day.” 51-year-old Kim Forte was out for a walk in her hometown of Wilmington on February 21, 2011 when the car driven by 46-year-old Charles McNeil slammed into her. He pleaded guilty to felony motor-vehicle homicide and operating under the influence of drugs in 2013. Police say he was high on marijuana and anti-depressants. He was sentenced to two-and-a-half to three years in prison in 2013. He served his time and has since been released. Forte was a popular Middlesex Community College professor who loved to dance. She was married to her high school sweet heart, Lou, for 30 years. They had not spent one night a part. She was loved by her parents, brother, sister, and son. Forte’s mom was blind and her dad had low vision, which, her husband says, made her live life to the fullest. “She would stop to help anyone, and loved spending time with her family,” he said.
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Aron Langlais from Hanson, Mass., was 18 years old when he was killed on July 9, 2013. He was walking on the shoulder of Route 27 in Hanson when a car driven by 21-year-old Sara Sansone hit him from behind. Sansone pleaded guilty to motor vehicle homicide while under the influence of drugs. Prosecutors say she was high on heroin and had marijuana in her system. Langlais was a Whitman-Hanson High School graduate. He loved riding his ATV, martial arts, drawing and fishing. Ironically, Aron’s family says that the teen made a point to stay away from drugs which were readily available in his community. He told his parents he didn’t like the effect it had on kids his age. Jim Langill, Aron’s stepfather, said the teen would do anything for his friends and was a very thoughtful son and brother. The drugged driver, Sansone completed her 15-month sentence in prison and is back in the community.
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Brittany McGrath of Brooklyn, New York, was 29 when she was killed on August 28, 2014. Brittany and her father, 62-year-old Ed McGrath were out for their annual father-daughter motorcycle ride through Easthampton when an SUV driven by a drugged driver crashed into them. Prosecutors say James Ainsworth and his girlfriend Christina Dunlap had taken heroin and were taking turns behind the wheel as each would “nod off.” Ainsworth was convicted and sentenced to 15-20 years at MCI-Shirley. Dunlap’s case was continued without a finding. Ed McGrath from Holyoke, Mass., was 62 when he was killed on August 28, 2014. Ed McGrath loved motorcycles and each year took his oldest daughter Brittany for a father-daughter ride. They were cruising down Route 5 in Easthampton when an SUV driven by a drugged driver plowed into them. James Ainsworth was sentenced to 15-20 years in prison after admitting he and his girlfriend were high on heroin, taking turns at the wheel when he “nodded off” and killed Ed and Brittany. Iris is pushing for tougher laws against drugged driving. Brittany had just passed the New York State bar and was working to be an immigration lawyer. She loved her family, her partner Juan and animals. She traveled the world, fed the homeless and adopted a happy gang of homeless animals. Brittany grew up in the Pioneer Valley and is survived by her partner Juan, her mother Iris and her younger sister Chelsea. In lieu of flowers at her funeral, her family asked that donations be made to Louie’s Legacy Animal Rescue. louieslegacy.org.
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33-year-old Amanda Turner Russell was training for the Boston Marathon when she was killed. The Hanover mother was out for a run on December 23, 2015 when she was hit by a car driven by an alleged drugged driver in Hanson. 52-year-old Kathleen Vitello pleaded not guilty to motor vehicle homicide after police say she took methadone and Xanax before getting behind the wheel. Turner Russell’s mother, Sally, says her daughter found happiness in everything and that her smile was contagious. Turner Russell was training to run the Boston Marathon for charity when she was hit. Turner Russell’s mother, Sally, says her daughter found happiness in everything and that her smile was contagious. She would begin each day by admiring the sunrise. She posted photos of the sunrise almost every day for her friends, family, and colleagues to enjoy. Amanda’s photos remain on Instagram under the hashtag #bidmcsunrise. The Labor and Delivery nurse at Boston’s Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital would begin each day by admiring the sunrise. She posted photos of the sunrise almost every day for her friends, family, and colleagues to enjoy. Amanda’s photos remain on Instagram under the hashtag #bidmcsunrise.
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