Craig Lawlor, 25, of Brighton, faces a potential 20-year prison sentence after a Suffolk Superior Court judge found him guilty today for drunkenly plowing into Jersey barriers in the Sumner Tunnel, killing a passenger in his Ram pickup, the Suffolk County District Attorney's office reports.
Lawlor survived the crash, as did one of the passengers in his pickup truck, but his friend Dillon Cohen, 24, did not.
Lawlor, who agreed to be tried by a judge rather than a jury, faces sentencing on Feb. 5, the DA's office reports. According to the DA's office:
During the course of the one-week bench trial, Assistant District Attorney Caitlin Grasso of the DA’s Major Felony Bureau introduced evidence and testimony to prove that on Aug. 26, 2016, Lawlor was operating his Dodge Ram 150 pickup truck inside the Sumner Tunnel with Cohen and the surviving victim as passengers when he struck the right side jersey barrier, then traveled across all travel lanes and struck the left side barrier. The vehicle came to a rest in the middle of the roadway.
All three men were thrown from the passenger side window of the truck as a result of the crash, which was captured on a surveillance camera inside the tunnel. Cohen, who was sitting in the passenger’s side seat, suffered severe injuries to his head and body and was pronounced dead at the scene. The surviving victim, who was seated in the middle seat, suffered head and spinal injuries and remained in a rehabilitation hospital more than three months after the crash. Lawlor suffered only minor injuries and was seen on surveillance video walking inside the tunnel shortly after the crash.
Cohen lived in Salem, New Hampshire. The evidence at trial proved that, prior to the crash, Lawlor and Cohen each drove separately from that town to Lawlor’s Brighton residence. There, Cohen parked his vehicle and entered Lawlor’s pickup truck. The two then traveled to an East Berkeley Street bar where they met with the surviving victim. After drinking at the establishment, the three men then traveled to a second bar, where private security cameras captured Lawlor consuming alcohol and displaying signs of intoxication. Social media postings show the men in Lawlor’s truck as little as 20 minutes before the crash.
Lawlor’s blood-alcohol content at the time of the crash was estimated at between .23% and .26% based on blood samples taken at Tufts Medical Center. State Police collision reconstruction experts opined that the vehicle was traveling at about 74 miles per hour, more than twice the limit within the tunnel.
Lawlor was formally convicted of manslaughter by motor vehicle, motor vehicle homicide by operating under the influence of alcohol and operating under the influence of alcohol.