WESTBOROUGH — The National Grid regional supervisor charged with motor vehicle homicide after a backhoe he was hauling fell off a trailer and killed a 70-year-old woman in a passing car was ordered Monday not to drive in Massachusetts.
Jeffrey W. Fisher, 50, of Coventry, R.I., was arraigned in Westborough District Court Monday morning.
Fisher was test-driving a National Grid dump truck Aug. 2, 2011, on Interstate 495 southbound in Southborough when he lost control, causing the backhoe to fall onto a passing minivan. Xiaoyun Jiang, 70, of Westford, was killed, and three members of her family were injured. The family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit.
Fisher is charged with motor vehicle homicide by negligence and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. Judge Vito Virzi ordered his license suspended Monday.
According to court records, Fisher told investigators that National Grid employees had been complaining of brake problems on newly acquired dump trucks, and he was out test-driving one. He had made two trips on his test drive, one with the dump truck and trailer and then the fatal second trip with the dump truck, trailer, and backhoe.
According to the family’s lawsuit, the new dump trucks had been banned from towing heavy equipment about a month before the accident because of employees’ complaints that they were difficult to control in those situations. Fisher, however, has said he was directed by a top executive to test-drive the dump truck, which he did in heavy Friday afternoon traffic.
A motorist who witnessed the crash told authorities that the dump truck and trailer being operated by Fisher caught her attention because of the quick lane change it made from the right to the middle lane.
The woman allegedly said Fisher squeezed in between two cars in the middle lane. She said that while his vehicle was not speeding, she categorized the lane change as being dangerous, according to court records.
Judge Virzi has scheduled an Oct. 15 pretrial hearing.