Two men were charged with motor vehicle homicide this week in connection with a June drag-racing crash on a residential Dorchester street that killed a 36-year-old woman who was inside one of the cars, officials said.
Sean Desiree, 31, of Boston, and Damiel Griffiths, 41, of Dorchester, were arraigned separately in the Dorchester Division of Boston Municipal Court on charges related to the death of Jennice Sanchez, according to Boston police and the Suffolk district attorney’s office.
Boston police said in a statement that Griffiths was arrested Wednesday in Dorchester and Desiree was arrested Thursday in Stoughton.
Griffiths is charged with motor vehicle homicide by reckless operation, manslaughter while operating under the influence of alcohol, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, racing another motor vehicle, operating under the influence of alcohol, and civil infractions, including speeding, failure to stop or yield, and a marked lanes violation, according to a statement from the district attorney’s office.
At his arraignment Wednesday, Griffiths was given bail of $10,000 and ordered to abstain from alcohol, submit to random testing, and wear an alcohol-monitoring bracelet, prosecutors said.
Desiree is charged with motor vehicle homicide by reckless operation, manslaughter while operating under the influence of alcohol, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, racing another motor vehicle, leaving the scene of a crash causing personal injury, and leaving the scene of a crash causing property damage, according to the statement.
At his arraignment Friday, Desiree was given bail of $10,000, prosecutors said.
Desiree’s attorney, Steve Weymouth, said Sanchez’s death was tragic, but he considers the charges against his client to be excessive.
“It’s not a manslaughter case, in my opinion,” he said by phone Friday evening. “It just seems like a horrible accident that’s more along the lines of negligent homicide.”
An attorney for Griffiths did not immediately respond to a request for comment Friday evening.
Griffiths and Desiree allegedly competed in a drag race on Washington Street around 2 a.m. on June 11 that reached speeds up to 71 miles per hour and led to a crash that killed Sanchez, according to the statement.
Sanchez was riding with Griffiths in his 2003 Infiniti, while Desiree was driving his BMW, prosecutors said.
As they raced, Desiree crossed the center median to pass Griffiths’ car, and then, as they drove parallel to each other Griffiths, veered left in an apparent effort to avoid another vehicle, according to the statement.
The driver’s side of Griffiths’ car came into contact with the passenger side of Desiree’s car, and both drivers lost control, prosecutors said.
Desiree’s BMW hit two other vehicles, ran a red light, came to rest on Park Street, and Desiree then fled the crash scene, the statement said. Griffiths’ Infiniti hit another vehicle and then smashed into a building, according to prosecutors.
Griffiths got out of the Infiniti, but Sanchez was trapped in the front passenger seat, unconscious and fatally injured, the district attorney’s office said.
Boston firefighters and EMS personnel pulled Sanchez from the Infiniti, and she was taken to Carney Hospital in Dorchester, where she was pronounced dead, according to the statement. Griffiths was taken to Boston Medical Center for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries, prosecutors said.
In an interview at his home after the crash, Desiree told police he wasn’t involved in a collision and that his car had been stolen, according to the statement.
Boston police detectives later obtained evidence that includes video of the crash, clothing found at Desiree’s home that matches that of the BMW’s driver seen on video, data from the BMW showing it was moving at up to 71 miles per hour at the time of the crash, and emergency room records showing alcohol in Griffiths’ blood at the time of the collision, prosecutors said.
Investigators also found Griffiths’ and Desiree’s cellphones inside their cars and obtained phone records showing that they were in communication with each other in the hours preceding the crash, according to the statement.