Driver involved in Northfield crash held on dangerousness ruling

  • Ryan O’Farrell of Westerly, Rhode Island is arraigned on 23 charges in Greenfield District Court on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Ryan O’Farrell of Westerly, Rhode Island is arraigned on 23 charges in Greenfield District Court on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Attorney Alan Rubin argues for bail for Ryan O’Farrell of Westerly, Rhode Island in Greenfield District Court on Tuesday.

  • Ryan O’Farrell of Westerly, Rhode Island looks toward the gallery as he is arraigned on 23 charges in Greenfield District Court on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Chief Trial Counsel Jeremy Bucci states the facts for the case against Ryan O’Farrell of Westerly, Rhode Island in Greenfield District Court on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Attorney Alan Rubin argues for bail for Ryan O’Farrell in front of Judge William Mazanec III in Greenfield District Court on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Chief Trial Counsel Jeremy Bucci speaks to the media about Ryan O’Farrell of Westerly, Rhode Island outside Greenfield District Court on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 6/1/2022 12:36:35 PM
Modified: 6/1/2022 12:36:38 PM

GREENFIELD — A Rhode Island man was ordered held without bail Tuesday after pleading not guilty to 23 charges stemming from an incident in which the SUV he was driving on Route 10 in Northfield on Sunday afternoon crossed the centerline, striking five motorcycles and hospitalizing eight people.

Ryan T. O’Farrell, 32, of Westerly, Rhode Island, was arraigned in Greenfield District Court on seven counts of operating under the influence of drugs causing serious bodily injury, seven counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, two counts of child endangerment while operating under the influence, and single counts of operating under the influence of drugs, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, having an unregistered motor vehicle (trailer) and a marked lanes violation. He was held on a 58A dangerousness ruling.

Judge William Mazanec III set bail at $100,000 cash or $500,000 surety should conditions change allowing for bail.

According to authorities, O’Farrell was driving southbound near 272 Main St. in an SUV pulling a trailer carrying a motorcycle at approximately 1 p.m. on Sunday when he crossed the centerline and collided with five motorcycles — traveling in a pack of nine as a part of a Connecticut motorcycle club ride — heading north in the oncoming lane.

Chief Trial Counsel Jeremy Bucci, who is prosecuting the case for the state, told Mazanec that one of the two children in the SUV reportedly told O’Farrell he should pull over to the side of the road because he repeatedly crossed the double yellow lines. The crash injured eight riders, whose conditions are being monitored by the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office and vary in severity. Bucci said one rider needed some fingers reattached, one is in and out of consciousness, and another may face amputation due to injuries. After the arraignment, Bucci told reporters the victims are Connecticut firefighters.

Bucci told Mazanec responding officers reported the defendant was noticeably under the influence of narcotics and performed poorly on roadside tests. O’Farrell reportedly told officers he had taken three prescription medications. Bucci said O’Farrell had a suspended driver’s license in Rhode Island and Connecticut. He said the defendant has a notable criminal history as well as some defaults on his record, indicating he is unlikely to show up to future court dates. Bucci also said there is evidence to suggest O’Farrell poses a danger to the community.

Bucci told the Greenfield Recorder there were two children in the SUV — the son of O’Farrell’s fiancee, who was also in the SUV, and that boy’s friend. Both were transported to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital in Vermont for evaluation and were released.

O’Farrell’s attorney, Alan Rubin, of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, argued that his client recently started working as a landscaper and has “very limited funds” to make bail, which he requested be set at $10,000, saying it is “an enormous amount of money” for his client.

“He is incredibly remorseful for the injuries he caused,” Rubin said. “It was clearly not an intentional offense.”

O’Farrell is due back in court on June 29.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.


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