fb-pixel Skip to main content

Trooper charged with drunken driving in fatal Plymouth crash

A state trooper is being charged with drunken driving in a head-on collision in Plymouth that killed a Carver mother and daughter last Sunday, Plymouth police said Saturday.

The trooper, 25-year-old John J. Basler of Kingston, will face charges of operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and carrying a firearm while under the influence of liquor, according to Plymouth police, and more charges could follow.

Susan Macchi, 64, of Carver, and her 23-year-old daughter, Juliet Macchi, were killed in the crash, which occurred just after midnight last Sunday on Federal Furnace Road.


Basler, who was sworn in as a state trooper in March 2012, was not on duty at the time of the crash, said State Police spokesman David Procopio in a statement.

State Police have temporarily relieved Basler of duty and have revoked his license to carry a firearm, Procopio said.

Chief Michael Botieri of Plymouth police said it was particularly disturbing to learn through the course of the accident investigation that the tragedy appeared to be caused by a law enforcement officer.

“It’s very difficult,” Botieri said, “but none of these kinds of investigations are easy.”

Susan Macchi, who was driving the car at the time of the crash, was pronounced dead at the scene. Her daughter, Juliet, died later at Jordan Hospital in Plymouth.

Basler was taken to South Shore Hospital in Weymouth, where he was in stable condition.

Basler, who had been assigned to the State Police barracks in Milton, will be asked to appear at a duty status hearing early this week, where it will be determined whether he will be suspended while the criminal charges are prosecuted. Initially, police said they did not believe alcohol or speed were factors in the crash.

Because of Basler’s injuries, he will be summonsed to Plymouth District Court once he has had more time to recover. As police continue to investigate the crash, additional charges could be brought against him, Botieri said.


Friends said the mother and daughter were best friends, and had been planning to move to Sacramento together in the next month so that Juliet could pursue her dream of working as a sound technician on a film crew and they could be closer to one of Juliet’s brother.

Juliet was a 2012 graduate of Harvard, where she majored in visual and environmental studies. She also worked as a student supervisor for the college’s dorm clean-up crew, where she worked between 30 and 100 hours per week, depending on the time of year.

“She was really tough — strong and tough and driven,” said Robert Wolfreys, supervisor of Harvard’s Dorm Crew program. “She took work really, really seriously, and she saw responsibilities through.”

She didn’t want to do like many of her classmates and work for Goldman Sachs or attend Harvard Medical School, he said, but wanted to instead find her own outlet for her creativity and deliberate approach to living. At the end of the school year, she persuaded her friends to don costumes for the last showing of the “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” at Harvard Square’s AMC Loews. This past summer, she put orange dreadlocks in her hair to attend the Burning Man festival in Nevada, where she said she told friends she felt full of joy and purpose.


“In that sense, she was refreshingly different from many other Harvard students,” Wolfreys said.

All the extra money that she made, friends said, went to two passions: her mother and sky diving.

On weekends she booked jumps from planes, hoping to rack up enough so that she could take lessons to become an instructor.

In a 2012 speech she gave at her Harvard house, Lowell, she told fellow students about that passion, about the feeling of hanging outside of a plane from 14,000 feet in the air.

She also carved out much of her earned cash to spend on the other most important part of her life, her mother. She was saving to buy her a ticket for an exotic cruise.

“She was one of the most caring and kind people that I knew at Harvard,” said Meg McCarty, who worked with her on the clean-up crew. “She was just really, really special.”

Susan Macchi was a mental health expert, working as a counselor at mental health centers around the South Shore and managing her own private practice in Plymouth.

She studied art at University of Massachusetts Boston, and continued to pursue art outside of work, crafting jewelry that she sold and gave to family and friends.

In 2012, when Juliet presented her senior thesis at Harvard’s Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts, Susan was there.

“Her mom had that look of a really proud and happy mom,” Wolfreys said.

Martine Powers can be reached at mpowers@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @martinepowers. Gal Tziperman Lotan can be reached at gal.lotan@globe.com.