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Woman sentenced to six months in jail for crash that killed two Needham High students

Talia Newfield (left) and Adrienne Garrido. (Facebook)Facebook

A 56-year-old Wellesley woman was sentenced Friday to six months in jail for her role in a 2018 crash in Needham that killed two high school students who were walking across a street, prosecutors said.

Dania Antoine-Guiteau, who was convicted last month of motor vehicle homicide but acquitted of manslaughter in the crash, must report to jail on Jan. 3, according to District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey’s office.

On Feb. 10, 2018, Needham High School juniors Talia Newfield, 16, and Adrienne Garrido, 17, were hit as they crossed Webster Street near their school. Antoine-Guiteau and Robert Berry, of Needham, struck the girls separately with their vehicles, according to authorities.

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Berry, 70, is slated for trial in February.

In a statement, Morrissey said his “thoughts are primarily with the Newfield family, who have shown great patience and resolve in seeing this through, and the Garrido family for their awful loss.”

Berry initially struck both victims with his Cadillac while they were in a crosswalk, prosecutors said. He claimed they were not in the crosswalk and were either running or walking fast, but roadway analysis and other evidence showed that account wasn’t true, according to prosecutors.

After Berry hit the teenagers, Antoine-Guiteau allegedly swerved around Berry’s car and “drove over Ms. Newfield,” according to prosecutors.

Prosecutors had requested a 2 1/2-year sentence with two years of jail time and the balance suspended during a three-year probationary period, Morrissey’s office said.

Prosecutors said 2 1/2 years is the maximum penalty for motor vehicle homicide if the defendant wasn’t impaired at the time of the crash.

Norfolk Superior Court Judge Beverly J. Cannone imposed the 2 1/2 year sentence with just six months to serve and the balance suspended for two years while Antoine-Guiteau is on probation, prosecutors said.

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“The only condition of that probation is that Dania Antoine Guiteau not drive,” Morrissey said. “The conviction also comes with a mandatory license loss of 15 years to life.”

In a court filing explaining her reasoning, Cannone said Antoine-Guiteau, a home health care worker, is the primary caretaker to her 16-year-old son, a Wellesley High School student.

“The court is cognizant that by incarcerating Ms. Antoine-Guiteau, I am removing the 16-year-old son’s sole financial and parental support from the home,” Cannone wrote. “This is not a matter that the court takes lightly and in fact, I have been struggling to balance all the considerations of sentencing ... with the obligation that I consider alternatives to incarceration.”

But ultimately, Cannone wrote, she decided jail time was warranted.

“The court is also aware of its responsibility to impose a sentence that is proportionate to the gravity of the offense and the harm done to the victim,” Cannone said. “After considering all of the sentencing objectives ... the court is satisfied that a sentence of incarceration, within the guidelines, is appropriate.”

Antoine-Guiteau’s public defender, Ethan Yankowitz, said in a statement that his client’s thoughts are with the Newfield and Garrido families.

“As she prepares to report for sentencing in the new year, she is seeking comfort and support from her family and her church,” Yankowitz said.

In a statement released shortly after Antoine-Guiteau and Berry were indicted in July 2018, the Newfield family said “Talia and Adrienne were heading to dinner shortly after 6 p.m. on a Saturday night, walking in a crosswalk on Webster Street behind Needham High School — the second crosswalk that Mr. Berry and Ms. Antoine-Guiteau sped through on their way to wherever they were going — when our daughters were run down in criminal acts,”

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The family described Talia as “a wonderful person — righteous, smart, artistic, loving to her family and friends, helpful to those around her, and so very beautiful. Talia passed through our lives for sixteen years with happiness, smiles, colorful style and humor. We love her so much, and we miss her every minute of every day. We are filled with anguish, despair and sadness; our lives are changed forever; we do not know how to carry on without Talia, and we struggle to get through each day.”

In a notice published in The Boston Globe shortly after the crash, Garrido’s family recalled her as a “sweet, thoughtful girl, full of life and light; she touched the lives of everyone she met. Compassionate friend, National Honor Society student, and cross-country co-captain.”

Garrido’s family also included a response she had written to a classroom prompt asking students “Who am I?” Garrido answered, “I am a hardworking student with an optimistic view on life who is half white, half Latina, a cross country and track runner, a friend, a daughter, and a sister.”

Garrido and Newfield ran for the school’s cross-country team for three seasons. Garrido also participated in indoor and outdoor track. At a meet soon after the crash, the indoor track team wore black-and-white ribbons with “TN & AG” written on them to honor the girls, who were best friends.

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Material from prior Globe stories was used in this report.


Travis Andersen can be reached at travis.andersen@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe.