A Saugus High School senior allegedly downed 10 beers before fatally striking a 67-year-old pedestrian in a horrific post-prom crash - and admitted at the scene that he â€œshould not have been driving after he had been drinking,â€ a prosecutor said yesterday.
As his mother hung her head and sobbed, an unemotional Jonathan Caruso, 18, pleaded not guilty in Lynn District Court to motor vehicle homicide and other charges in the tragic crash that killed Carol Marean and seriously injured her daughter, Charlotte, 41, during their ritual Saturday morning dog walk.
Police arrived at about 7:30 a.m. to find Carusoâ€™s smashed Chevy Cavalier with four beers in the trunk, said prosecutor Christina Ronan. A despondent Caruso was lying with his head in Rosa Palombaâ€™s lap. A passenger in the car, Palomba, 18, was screaming, â€œWe killed that person!â€ according to officer Matthew S. Donahueâ€™s report. Charlotte Marean was â€œscreaming and crying in pain.â€
The prosecutor said that when Caruso was asked how many drinks heâ€™d had, he told them he was â€œcelebrating prom and drank 10 beers earlier.â€ Carusoâ€™s blood-alcohol level was .02 at 9 a.m.,which would have made it .06 at the time of the crash, according to court testimony.
His speech heavily slurred, Caruso was unsteady on his feet and reeked of alcohol as he acknowledged that he shouldnâ€™t have driven after drinking, Donahue wrote. Caruso told cops he fell asleep behind the wheel and when he awoke, another passenger, Christopher Baldwin, 19, told him heâ€™d hit two people.
Authorities say Saugus High administered a Breathalyzer at the prom, which was held at the Danversport Yacht Club - and another alcohol test at the after-party aboard a boat in Boston Harbor.
The night of school-sponsored festivities ended when students were bused back to the school parking lot shortly before 4 a.m. However, a Saugus junior who was a girlâ€™s date to the senior prom told the Herald students were given a Breathalyzer just once - prior to the prom. He said no test was administered between the prom and after-party.
â€œYou had to be at the school at 4 p.m., then board the bus to Danversport where you got a Breathalyzer for the first and only time,â€ said the student, who asked that his name be withheld for fear of retribution. School administrators declined comment.
Caruso lives with his mother and extended family in Saugus, said his attorney, James McCall. His family, including his grandparents, aunt and uncle, declined to talk to the media.
Carusoâ€™s date, Courtney Faysal, told NECN-TV: â€œEveryone is making him out to be a monster. This could have happened to anybody, 80 percent of the kids who went to prom went out right after. It just happened to be Johnny.â€
Faysal told WCVB-TV Caruso had dropped her off at her home at 4:30 a.m. and that she had not seen any alcohol in the car.
According to police, both Caruso and Palomba said they were supplied the alcohol by Baldwin, who could not be reached.
Michelle Marean said last night that her sister Charlotte has been told of their motherâ€™s tragic death but â€œhas no recollection of the impact.â€