RI man denied lower bail in Williamstown crash that killed Vt. man


PITTSFIELD -- A Superior Court judge has denied a request to reduce bail for a Rhode Island man accused of causing a fatal crash in November.

William Lowe, 35, of Pawtucket, R.I., remains held on $25,000 cash or $250,000 surety bail after his hearing on Wednesday before Berkshire Superior Court Judge Mary-Lou Rup.

Lowe was driving on Route 7 in Williamstown about 10:30 a.m. Nov. 24, 2013, when his Ford Explorer veered into an oncoming Hyundai Elantra on Cold Spring Road, according to Second Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Robert W. Kinzer III. The driver of the Elantra, Lawrence George, 64, of Pownal, Vt., was killed.

After the accident, Lowe had an estimated blood alcohol content of 0.06, and he tested positive for cocaine and marijuana, Kinzer said. Prosecutors are still waiting on a more comprehensive evaluation of the amount of the drugs that were in Lowe's system at the time, he said. At trial, the prosecutor can use the information to show that there could have been cumulative effects from the combination of drugs and alcohol in the defendant's system that played a part in the crash.

Lowe has denied single charges of motor vehicle homicide while under the influence of alcohol and operating to endanger, possession of an open container of alcohol, speeding and failure to stay within marked lanes.

When the crash occurred, Lowe was facing a charge of operating under the influence of drugs and other vehicle and traffic related charges in Uxbridge. His bail was revoked in that case, but in April Lowe pleaded to the charges and was given two years' probation on the drunken driving charge and had other related charges continued without a finding of guilt for a year, the prosecutor said.

Kinzer asked the court to keep the bail at $25,000 cash, citing Lowe's lack of ties to the community and the severity of the charges among his reasons.

Lowe's attorney, Richard D. LeBlanc, said the commonwealth's case is weak since the estimated BAC taken at the hospital when Lowe was brought in for treatment after the accident was 0.02 below the statutory limit for drunken driving in the state.

"He has every incentive to show up," LeBlanc said.

He said if released on lower bail -- he suggested $2,500 cash -- Lowe would still be under the supervision of the probation department in Uxbridge.

Rup denied the motion, but said it could be revisited in the future.

A pretrial hearing in the case is scheduled for September.


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