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Motor vehicle collision derails Former MASS MoCA director’s vehicular manslaughter trial

A white man stands at a podium against a black backdrop
JD Allen
Joe Thompson

Former MASS MoCA Director Joe Thompson’s trial for vehicular manslaughter has been again postponed after a motor vehicle collision involving jurors and court officials Monday.

Thompson’s trial for a July 2018 incident that resulted in the death of motorcyclist Steven Fortier was set to begin Monday in Central Berkshire District Court, but a mistrial was declared before the day was out.

According to the Berkshire District Attorney’s office, a bus carrying jurors, prosecutors, defense counsel, and court staffers was involved in a collision en route to the scene of the crash. It was not immediately clear if there were injuries.

Thompson is represented by Pittsfield attorney Timothy Shugrue, who is running for district attorney in this year’s election. Shugrue unsuccessfully made a motion to dismiss the case on Friday. The Pittsfield Police Department is investigating Monday’s collision.

A new trial date is expected to be set Tuesday.

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods.
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