Trooper indicted in crash deaths
A state trooper was indicted Wednesday on two counts of motor vehicle manslaughter and drunken driving charges in connection with a two-car crash that took the lives of a mother and daughter from Carver who were returning home last year from a Red Sox game.
John Basler, 25, of Kingston, was charged in the September deaths of Susan Macchi, 64, and her daughter, Juliet Macchi, 23, who were killed in the crash in Plymouth as they traveled home from Boston.
Basler was off duty and driving his personal Toyota Corolla on Federal Furnace Road shortly after midnight Sept. 22. He collided head-on with the Macchis’s vehicle.
A Plymouth County grand jury indicted Basler on two counts of motor vehicle manslaughter, two counts of motor vehicle homicide while operating under the influence, and single counts of reckless operation of a motor vehicle, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and carrying a firearm while intoxicated, authorities said Wednesday night.
“Drunk driving is a scourge in our society and is all the more maddening because it can be prevented by drivers making the right choices,” said Colonel Timothy Alben, State Police superintendent. “We condemn the actions of anyone who gets behind the wheel of a car while impaired.”
Basler, who was assigned to the State Police barracks in Milton, has been suspended from the force without pay since the crash, spokesman David Procopio said in an e-mail Wednesday night. Basler’s status will be reevaluated after the criminal proceedings, Alben said.
Susan Macchi was a mental health counselor and artist who worked at several facilities south of Boston and also had a private practice in Plymouth.
Her daughter, Juliet, was a recent graduate of Harvard University and was planning to move to California to enter the movie business, her brother Richard Macchi Jr. said in an earlier interview with the Globe.
Juliet’s father, Andrew Wells, responded to the indictment in an e-mail Wednesday night.
“Today my family’s thoughts are with Juliet,” Wells said. “Not a day goes by that her unique personality is not missed and mourned.’’
“This tragedy has deeply affected the Wells and Macchi families, and while we note that today’s events affect the Basler family as well, we believe that Mr. Basler should be held accountable for the decisions he made last Sept. 22 that cost the lives of two innocent people,” he said.
Richard Rafferty, one of Basler’s lawyers, said his defense team would not be commenting on the case until they review the indictment.
A Plymouth police report said Basler had been driving to his Kingston home after attending a party in Wareham.
Witnesses at the party told police that Basler had consumed a single beer during the night.
It was later determined that Basler registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.19, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08, a State Police report said.
There were no witnesses to the accident, but people who came to the crash site told police that heavy rain had been falling a short time earlier, according to the Plymouth police report.
Police found Basler lying on the ground outside his vehicle.
Investigators said Basler told officers that he could not recall the crash and was employed by the State Police.
Officers found a loaded .45-caliber magazine on the floor of his car and a .45-
caliber Auto-Ordnance 1911 pistol in bushes near the car, according to the report.
Basler was hospitalized after the crash and did not attend the initial hearing that determined his duty status.
He will appear at a later date in Brockton Superior Court.