LOWELL — As Melissa Rich drove a van with three special-needs adults to their Billerica group home, prosecutors at her trial allege the Dracut woman was drunk, talking on a cellphone and driving erratically when she went off the road, hit mailboxes and a utility pole before crashing into a River Road home two years ago.
All the passengers were taken to an area hospital, and one of the passengers suffered a broken hip that required weeks of hospitalization and rehab, prosecutor Laura Miller told a Lowell District Court jury on Wednesday.
Rich, 23, is charged with operating under the influence causing serious injury, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, marked-lanes violation and speeding.
This story absolutely kills me. Driving the special needs van is my dream retirement gig, ranking just above driving the Janus Rink zamboni. Driving the neighborhoods of the Valley, sipping a large Dunk’s, listening to AM radio talk shows in an non-ironic way, and getting good folks to places they need to go. What could be better?
Melissa Rich isn’t being a good steward here. She obviously lacks any sort of respect for the gig. You won’t get that on my watch. I’ll be as sober as a judge, and that van will always have a minimum four wheels touching pavement. That’s a promise.