Suspect In Fatal Crash Held On $100,000 Bail

By SCOTT JACKSON

The Quincy man charged with motor vehicle homicide following a fatal Germantown crash last week was held on $100,000 bail at his arraignment Wednesday in Quincy District Court.

Christoper Murch. Photo courtesy Quincy Police Department.

Christoper Murch. Photo courtesy Quincy Police Department.

Christopher Murch, age 22, pleaded not guilty at Wednesday’s arraignment to charges of motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation, leaving the scene of personal injury and death and leaving the scene of personal injury.

If he makes bail, Murch would be placed on around-the-clock house arrest, be required to wear a GPS monitoring device and be subject to random drug and alcohol tests.

Murch turned himself in to Quincy police late Tuesday, one day after police obtained an arrest warrant for the 22-year-old and sought the public’s help in finding him. The charges he was facing were not disclosed at that time.

The crash on Palmer Street near Baker Beach took place around 12:30 a.m. on Aug. 7. Allan Dunne, age 18, was pronounced dead at the scene and a 17-year-old suffered what police described as life-threatening but has since been released from the hospital.

Police said following the crash that Murch, Dunne and the 17-year-old were in a Ford utility vehicle traveling eastbound on Palmer Street near Baker Beach when it crossed over the yellow center double lines at about 12:35 a.m., police said. The vehicle clipped a utility pole on Palmer Street, went off the road, struck a chain-link fence, hit and snapped in half another utility pole, then hit two parked cars before flipping over.

Police said speed was a factor in the crash.

Murch walked away from the crash and was found nearby, police said. He was taken to a local hospital with minor injuries and also had an open warrant served on him. Murch was later released.

 

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Helen Murphy Named Director Of Operations

By SCOTT JACKSON

Human Resources Director Helen Murphy will return to the mayor’s office as director of operations and long-time HR administrator Patricia McGowan will take over as of head of that department, Mayor Thomas Koch announced Tuesday.

Murphy was Koch’s director of operations from 2008 to 2013 and she replaces Al Grazioso, who last week was appointment commissioner of public works.  The director of operations is tasked with oversight of day-of-day government activities, and is the primary liaison between city departments and the mayor’s office.

McGowan has been the benefits coordinator in the Human Resources Department since 2008, responsible for managing health, dental and other insurance plans for all city employees.  She was an HR assistant from 2002 to 2008, after more than more a dozen years of private sector experience as a research analyst for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and a development supervisor for Bay State Health Care. She has a master’s degree in business administration from Suffolk University.

Both appointments are effective this week.

“Both Helen and Patty are tremendous assets to our team – their experience, history of hard work and their ability to solve problems and help people will continue to be a great benefit to the city and our residents,” Koch said in a statement.

The director of operations position has a $97,000 salary under the city’s budget for the current fiscal year, FY2018, and the HR director’s salary is $106,000.

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Traffic Shift Onto New Fore River Bridge Wednesday Night – Thursday Morning

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announces that between the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 16 and the morning of Thursday, Aug. 17, all vehicular traffic will be shifted off the existing temporary Fore River Bridge and onto the new replacement bridge that is in the final stages of construction.

This milestone will mark the end of service for the temporary bridge and will allow crews and contractors to continue demolition operations while also moving forward with the construction of the new bridge.

There will continue to be one lane of travel in each direction and the traffic management schedule indicates there will be two lanes of travel in each direction by Oct. 1, 2017.

“Beginning on the morning of Thursday, Aug. 17th, drivers will have a different experience if they travel across the Fore River Bridge as they will be driving across the new replacement bridge that has been built by our crews and contractors,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack. “We are pleased to reach this important point in our process of replacing the existing bridge and we thank the local communities, civic leaders, and residents and commuters for their understanding and patience and their efforts to make informed travel decisions while our operations are ongoing.”

“Travelers should be aware that a new traffic configuration will be in place starting on Thursday, and this new configuration will direct all vehicular traffic across the new replacement bridge instead of the existing temporary bridge,” said Acting Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. “This is a significant achievement for this major construction project and we appreciate the cooperation and attention of the traveling public and the hard work of our crews and contractors who are continuing to work to build the new bridge and conduct work in ways that reduce the impact on the local communities.”

On Friday, June 2, MassDOT crews and contractors put in place logistics for one lane of travel in each direction. This has allowed crews to conduct operations to remove half of the existing temporary bridge from service to allow for the completion of the new approach spans.

By Oct. 1, there will be two lanes of travel in each direction on the new Fore River Bridge as crews continue construction operations and work towards achieving full beneficial use of the bridge by the spring of 2018.

The Fore River Bridge Replacement is one of the Commonwealth’s projects in the $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program, a program with the goal of restoring, repairing or replacing structurally deficient bridges in Massachusetts. The Fore River Bridge project includes the installation of a new bridge, which occurred last year, and the eventual removal of the existing temporary span.

 For more information on traffic conditions travelers are also encouraged to:

  • Dial 511 before heading out onto the roadways and select a route to hear real-time conditions.
  • Visit www.mass511.com, a website which provides real-time traffic and incident advisory information, access to traffic cameras, and allows users to subscribe to text and email alerts for traffic conditions.
  • Follow MassDOT on Twitter @MassDOT to receive regular updates on road and traffic conditions
  • Download MassDOT?s GoTime mobile app and view real-time traffic conditions before setting out on the road.

All scheduled work is weather dependent and subject to change without notice.

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West Nile Virus Confirmed In Mosquitoes In Quincy

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (MDPH) has confirmed that West Nile virus (WNV) has been detected in mosquitoes collected from Quincy. There was one WNV-positive Culex pipiens/restuans complex mosquito sample (pool) identified from samples collected on Aug. 9.

To date, for 2017, the state has reported 80+ WNV-positive mosquito pools from eleven counties, including at least three from Norfolk County.

While WNV can infect people of all ages, people over the age of 50 are at higher risk for severe infection.  WNV is most commonly transmitted to humans by the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus.  The City of Quincy Health Department and the MDPH recommend that the public continue to take action to avoid mosquito bites and reduce mosquito populations around their home and neighborhoods.

  • Limit your time outdoors during peak periods of mosquito activity (dusk and dawn) or, if you must remain outdoors, wear a long-sleeved shirt and long pants.
  • Use a mosquito repellent that contains DEET or Picaridin.  Oil of lemon eucalyptus may also be considered.  Products with permethrin should only be used on clothing. Always follow the directions on the label. Repellents should not be used on children younger than two months of age.  Oil of lemon eucalyptus should not be used on children under three years of age.
  • Take special care to cover up the arms and legs of children playing outdoors.  When you bring a baby outdoors, cover the baby’s carriage or playpen with mosquito netting.
  • Fix any holes in your screens and make sure they are tightly attached to all your doors and windows.
  • Remove any standing water around your home that is available for mosquito breeding.  Mosquitoes will begin to breed in any puddle or standing water that lasts for more than four days.  Make sure water does not collect and stagnate in ceramic pots, trash cans, recycling containers, old tires, wading pools, birds baths, etc.  Remove leaves and debris that may prevent drainage of roof gutters.

While the Quincy Health Department continues to work closely with the MDPH, locally the city is actively involved with Norfolk County Mosquito Control regarding the control of mosquitoes in Quincy.  Detailed information regarding WNV is available on the website:  https://www.quincyma.gov/govt/depts/health/hdnews/west_nile_virus_/default.htm .  Fact sheets regarding mosquito control and personal protection are available at the Health Department.

Information about WNV and reports of WNV activity in Massachusetts during 2017 can be found on the MDPH website at  http://www.mosquitoresults.com/.  The Quincy Health Department will continue to work closely with the MDPH Arbovirus Surveillance Program and the Norfolk County Mosquito Control Project on mosquito control and surveillance efforts.

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Quincy Police Boosting Impaired Driving Patrols

The Quincy police will increase the number of impaired driving patrols on local roads after being awarded a special grant from the Highway Safety Division (HSD) of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS).

The Quincy Police department will join more than 200 local police departments across the state and the state police in the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement mobilization.

This year’s campaign will include the impairment marijuana causes in drivers – and the exponentially increased impairment caused when alcohol and marijuana are combined.

“Drivers who have had too much to drink or ingested marijuana are a menace to everyone on the road with them,” said Chief Paul Keenan. “This grant funding will allow us to add patrols specifically to remove impaired drivers and as a result reduce the needless deaths and injuries they cause.”

“There is clear evidence that drivers who have used marijuana, especially in combination with alcohol, are significantly impaired,” said Jeff Larason, director of the Highway Safety Division. “We are urging motorists to plan ahead for a sober ride home by using public transportation, a ride-sharing service or a designated driver. Do not put yourself and each person in the car and on the road with you at risk.”

Massachusetts Data: 

  • Marijuana or marijuana-type drugs were the most prevalent types of drugs found in people killed in crashes from 2010 to 2014.
  • From 2013 to 2014, alcohol impaired driving fatalities increased 14 percent (125 to 143).
  • From 2010-2014, 77 percent of impaired drivers in fatal crashes were men.
  • From 2010-2014, 46 percent of all alcohol-related driver fatalities were ages 21 to 34.

National Data:

  • NHTSA’s Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) reported that drugs were present in 40 percent of the fatally-injured drivers with a known test result, almost the same level as alcohol.
  • NHTSA’s 2013–2014 roadside survey found drugs in 22 percent of all drivers both on weekend nights and on weekdays.
  • Drivers using marijuana demonstrated decreased car handling performance, increased reaction times, impaired time and distance estimation, sleepiness and decreased motor skill coordination (NHTSA).
  • Mixing alcohol and marijuana may dramatically produce effects greater than either drug on its own (NHTSA).
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