Hike sentence

Woman given suspended sentence in fatal accident | News

IPSWICH – An Ipswich woman who hit a family on a bicycle on Topsfield Road in Ipswich almost two years ago has been given a suspended sentence and probation after pleading guilty to negligent homicide on Monday.

Ryane Linehan, 45, will be confined to her home except to work or attend medical appointments and religious services for the next six months, Ipswich District Court Judge Peter Doyle ordered during a a moving audience.

She will also lose her right to drive for the next 15 years.

Members of George Norris’ family had hoped for some time in custody for Linehan, as have prosecutors, who have asked that she serve at least a year in prison for the March 26, 2020 crash, which killed Norris and seriously injured his son, Jack, and wife, Amy.

But Doyle said he saw ‘no benefit in sending Ms Linehan to jail’ for what he called ‘a tragic decision when she took her eyes off the road’ that afternoon, for 10 seconds .

Linehan had texted a friend about a possible visit to Crane’s Beach minutes before the crash.

But the moment she turned in the shoulder, something else had distracted her, her attorney, David Yannetti, told the judge.

After years of a worsening gastrointestinal problem, the lawyer said, Linehan lost control of his bowels. In that moment of shock, Yannetti said, she looked down.

That’s when she hit the Norris family.

All three were at home in those early days of the pandemic when they decided to go for a bike ride on a “beautiful” early spring afternoon, Amy Norris told the judge in a victim impact statement.

There was little traffic.

“We were almost home,” she told the judge.

The next thing she remembered was waking up on the side of the road and someone asking her questions. After that, she woke up again in a hospital bed, badly injured, with multiple broken bones.

Her son, Jack, had also suffered multiple serious injuries.

They were the lucky ones, she recalls.

Healthy 58-year-old community stalwart George Norris had been resuscitated but suffered severe head trauma. When Amy and Jack were brought to his bedroom, he was, his widow said, “barely recognizable”.

“I not only lost my husband and my partner, I lost my best friend and Jack lost his best friend,” Amy Norris told the judge.

She and other family members say their grief was compounded by an apparent failure by Linehan to acknowledge what had happened to them.

After hearing Linehan’s taped interview with police, which Yannetti had tried to have deleted during a hearing earlier this year, they said they were troubled that Linehan barely mentioned family, instead focusing on his own situation.

The judge also heard impact statements written by other family members, including the 86-year-old mother of George Norris, who has now lost four children.

In 1980, two of her children and her husband were killed in a house fire. Another child recently died of cancer.

Shailagh Kennedy, the prosecutor handling the case, described how Linehan allegedly had more than 600 feet before coming upon the family, who was rolling over the shoulder, between the line of fog and the grass.

The impact sent George Norris into the windshield and roof of Linehan’s vehicle, Kennedy said. He was found about 90 meters away.

Kennedy asked the judge to send Linehan to jail for at least a year, followed by five years probation, calling the accident “entirely preventable”.

Yannetti told the judge he did not envy his role in sentencing his client, but suggested that in this case there was no intent on his client’s part, only negligence .

He also blasted previous media coverage that cited Linehan’s texting – something he said she quit minutes before the crash.

Kennedy acknowledged they had no evidence to show Linehan was using his phone at the time of the crash.

Linehan was also found responsible for texting while driving by Doyle.

Yannetti said her client had already paid a high price, largely confined to her home for a year and a half awaiting trial, unable to find a job until about six months ago when she was hired by a chain of supermarkets.

Since she can’t drive, Yannetti said, she has to take public transportation and walk a mile to the store, each way, which gives her time to remember the accident each day.

“She made a tragic mistake,” Doyle said.

He imposed an 18-month prison sentence but suspended the sentence for three years, the first six months of which Linehan will be under house arrest, monitored by a GPS device. She will only be able to leave her home to work, go to medical appointments or religious services.

After that, for the remaining 2.5 years, she will be required to complete 100 hours of community service in a program that works with people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries and participate in a road safety course and a trauma awareness program. the head.

Due to the driving homicide conviction, his license will be revoked by the Motor Vehicle Registry for 15 years.

Forensic reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at [email protected] or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis