PITTSFIELD -- An Adams man was found not guilty on Tuesday of a felony drunken driving-related charge in connection with an October 2011 one-car crash that left a woman with severe injuries.
A jury of five men and one woman took about an hour to determine that 19-year-old Robert C. Malloy III was not guilty of drunken driving while operating negligently and causing serious personal injury.
When police showed up at the scene on Route 8 near the Berkshire Mall Road in Lanesborough that Oct. 17, 2011, evening, Malloy, Tiffany M. Gerra and Brandi Therrien, both 19 and from North Adams, had all been ejected from the vehicle.
All three suffered various wounds, but Gerra was the most seriously injured, with a shattered pelvis, broken back, and other injuries.
Malloy's lawyer, Thomas C. Doyle, said it wasn't his client who was driving but Therrien who had been behind the wheel that day.
Therrien, who took the stand on Monday, told the jury that Malloy had been driving.
She admitted from the stand that she, Malloy and Gerra had been drinking whipped cream-flavored vodka at a skate park in Adams before heading to the mall.
Therrien said that while in the mall parking lot she had argued with Malloy about who would drive. Malloy walked off and Therrien drove onto Route 8 to pick him up, at which point he got behind the wheel, she told the jury.
Gerra said she didn't have a clear memory of much of that day, but recalled that Malloy was driving at the time of the accident and had been swerving back and forth before losing control of the car.
She said she spent a month in the hospital after the crash.
Gerra admitted that she was suing Malloy because of the accident.
Malloy also took the stand and admitted that he had no recollection of the accident and said it was possible that he was driving when they crashed.
Doyle told the jury that Gerra's memory was faulty and that she had "relied on" Therrien "to fill in the gaps."
"She chose her own self-interest over the truth," Doyle said of Therrien during his closing argument on Tuesday.
He said there were two neutral witnesses who saw the car leaving the mall, but never saw the car pull over on Route 8 as Therrien and Gerra had testified.
The Berkshire District Attorney's Office argued that the testimony of the two women was believable, that Malloy was found outside of the driver's side of the car after the crash, and that Malloy himself had admitted it was possible he had been the driver. The defendant's blood alcohol level was between 0.15 and 0.16, about twice the legal limit, according to the DA's Office.
When the verdict was read, Malloy's family was ebullient, hugging one another and thanking the jurors.
Malloy had been facing a maximum 21 2 years in jail. The civil case remains pending.