Superior Court judge orders no bail for RI man in Northfield crash 

  • Ryan T. O’Farrell, 32, of Westerly, Rhode Island, is arraigned in Greenfield District Court on May 31. O’Farrell is accused of hospitalizing eight motorcyclists while driving under the influence of narcotics on Route 10 in Northfield. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Ryan T. O’Farrell, 32, of Westerly, Rhode Island, looks toward the gallery as he is arraigned in Greenfield District Court on May 31; at right is defense attorney Alan Rubin. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Chief Trial Counsel Jeremy Bucci speaks about the state’s case against Ryan O’Farrell in Greenfield District Court on May 31. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Attorney Alan Rubin argues for bail for Ryan O’Farrell, 32, of Westerly, Rhode Island, in Greenfield District Court on May 31. STAFF FILE PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 6/8/2022 2:45:15 PM
Modified: 6/8/2022 2:43:07 PM

GREENFIELD — The Rhode Island man accused of sending eight motorcyclists to the hospital while driving under the influence of illegal drugs on Route 10 in Northfield late last month will remain held without the right to bail, a Franklin County Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday morning.

Ryan T. O’Farrell, 32, of Westerly, Rhode Island, has been in custody since May 29, when authorities say the SUV he was driving with a trailer carrying a motorcycle crossed the center line and collided with five motorcycles traveling in the oncoming lane as a part of a Connecticut motorcycle club ride. He now faces 23 charges, including eight counts of operating under the influence of drugs causing serious bodily injury and nine counts of assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon.

The state had requested O’Farrell be held without bail due to his criminal history, his record of missing court dates and the belief that he was under the influence at the time of the incident. Judge Jane Mulqueen found the state had “proven by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant poses a substantial danger to the community” and “that there are no conditions of release that will ensure the safety of the community if the defendant is released pending trial.”

State law requires O’Farrell’s bail status to be readdressed within 180 days.

Chief Trial Counsel Jeremy Bucci, who is prosecuting the case for the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, told Mulqueen on Friday that O’Farrell was leaving a motocross event with his 10-year-old stepson and the stepson’s 13-year-old friend on May 29 when he stopped at a gas station and the 13-year-old noticed O’Farrell in possession of a white powder, “a telltale sign of heroin or cocaine.”

The 13-year-old allegedly told authorities that O’Farrell began “nodding out” within minutes of leaving the gas station. Bucci said the 13-year-old knew this term because his own father struggles with addiction. The 13-year-old reportedly suffered two black eyes in the crash while the stepson was “badly bruised.” Bucci previously told the Greenfield Recorder the boys were taken to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital in Vermont for evaluation and released.

The injured

Bucci told Mulqueen on Friday that one of the women O’Farrell struck in the crash has had her left leg amputated due to her injuries. He said another motorcyclist needed an elbow fused, meaning he will be on disability for the rest of his life. Bucci had previously mentioned one rider needed some fingers reattached, and another was in and out of consciousness. He said the DA’s Office is monitoring the patients’ conditions.

According to Bucci, O’Farrell had a suspended driver’s license. But O’Farrell’s attorney, Alan Rubin, of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, said his client was unaware of that. In fact, Rubin said, O’Farrell had his Rhode Island driver’s license returned to him in October. 

O’Farrell is due back in court for a pretrial conference on June 29.

Reach Domenic Poli at or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.

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