Dorchester man to serve 18 months for drunken driving crash

A Dorchester man was sentenced on Friday to 18 months in jail for a drunken-driving crash that killed a cyclist on William T. Morrissey Boulevard in 2012.

Michael Ahern was convicted Oct. 16 of felony motor vehicle homicide for fatally striking Doan Bui as the 63-year-old biked home after a night of fishing.

Accompanied by a Vietnamese language interpreter, Bui’s wife was silent in the courtroom as her lawyer told the judge that she and her children knew a long prison sentence for Ahern would not bring back her husband and their father.

Thuy Huynh, the victim’s wife, had asked for her lawyer, Andrew Barrett, to speak on her behalf.


“She doesn’t think any more damage should be done to anyone else,” Barrett said. “She has expressed, for the lack of a better word, forgiveness, and doesn’t see any advantage to any lengthy sentencing imposed on the defendant.”

Suffolk County Superior Court Judge Christopher J. Muse also heard statements from the victim’s 14-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son that were read by the assistant district attorney.

“If I had a wish, I hope my dad would belong with us and drunks do not drive any more in order to not injure anyone else,” wrote Thao Bui, the victim’s daughter.

She and her brother, Diamond Bui, wrote that after their father’s death, they do not want to leave the house. They also described a hardworking father who took care of his family.

His daughter wrote that Bui had often helped his wife study English and practice driving. His son said they would explore the outdoors together during the summer.

“We and my mom miss him very much,” wrote Diamond Bui.

Assistant District Attorney Gregory Henning had recommended a sentence of six to eight years in state prison. “The defendant in this case is the reason Doan Bui is not here,” he told the judge. “This is somebody who should have known better.”


Muse gave Ahern a 2½-year sentence, with 18 months incarceration. He also faces an additional year if he reoffends, or violates judge’s orders, within six years after his release. During that time, he will undergo alcohol abuse evaluation and take part in any necessary treatment, perform 500 hours of community service and will not be able to drive.

Daniel O’Malley, Ahern’s lawyer, had asked the judge for the 2½-year sentence, saying Ahern was a man who helped serve his community and had not been driving recklessly.

Earlier this month, bicycling advocates had applauded the conviction. David Watson, the executive director of MassBike, said he had hoped such convictions would raise awareness for drivers about watching out for bikers on the road.

Bui had been riding his bike in the righthand lane on Morrissey Boulevard near Malibu Beach at about 12:25 a.m. on Sept. 14, 2012, according to prosecutors. Ahern was traveling about 20 miles per hour over the 30-mile-per-hour speed limit when he struck Bui, prosecutors said.

Ahern called 911. He repeatedly told the dispatcher the cyclist had pulled in front of him.

State troopers said Ahern, who drove a Ford F-150 pickup truck, appeared to be under the influence as they spoke to him after the crash.

Video taken earlier in the day at a Boston restaurant that Ahern co-owned at the time showed Ahern drinking alcoholic beverages and then getting into his truck, according to prosecutors.


Ahern had been previously convicted for arson in 1989.

According to Registry of Motor Vehicles records, Ahern’s license was suspended after the crash that killed Bui. He has a separate, overlapping suspension for defaulting on payment of an August 2012 citation for failing to yield the right of way. He has a seven-page driving record that includes multiple citations for failure to stop, speeding, and accidents. In 1992, his license was revoked as a habitual offender but reinstated two years later.

Evan Allen of the Globe Staff contributed to this report. Nicole Dungca can be reached at nicole.dungca@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @ndungca.