Prosecutors say Nashua man involved in fatal 2015 crash may have been using SnapchatBy KIMBERLY HOUGHTON
Union Leader Correspondent
August 20. 2017 9:06PM
NASHUA — New details have emerged alleging that a Nashua man may have been using Snapchat at the time his vehicle crashed and killed a Massachusetts man in 2015.
Matthew Michaud, 27, of 37 Langholm Drive, is facing alternative counts of negligent homicide for an Aug. 19, 2015, crash that killed motorcyclist David Swierk of Tyngsborough, Mass.
Although jury selection was originally scheduled for June 19, it was postponed until Oct. 2, according to court documents.
“The state cannot overestimate the importance of the cellphone testimony. The most important issue at trial, by far, is whether Matthew was using his phone to take a picture or send the picture via Snapchat at the time of the crash,” Kara Simard, public defender, wrote in court records. “It is not an exaggeration to say the jury’s verdict turns primarily on the answer to that question.”
Court documents on file at Hillsborough County Superior Court allege that Michaud was “under the influence of a controlled drug and distracted by his cellphone,” when he allegedly drove his vehicle into the opposite lane of traffic and hit Swierk’s motorcycle.
A plea offer was previously made to Michaud, and both parties had originally indicated that an imminent negotiated resolution was hopeful. The attorneys, however, are no longer as optimistic about a future plea deal.
“The negotiated resolution is not imminent at this point. There is still a chance of a negotiated resolution, but the chances are lower now than they were a month ago,” stated Simard.
Michaud is facing 3 ½ to 7 years in prison, a $4,000 fine and the loss of his license for seven years, according to court records. In addition to the negligent homicide charge, he is also facing a charge of falsifying physical evidence.
The crash occurred along a portion of Dracut Road in Hudson near the Tyngsborough, Mass., line.
Police said Swierk was driving a 2014 Harley Davidson motorcycle headed north on Dracut Road, just over the state line into New Hampshire, when a 1998 Audi heading south on Dracut Road, driven by Michaud, swerved into the northbound lane of traffic and hit the motorcycle.
Swierk, 62, sustained severe injuries and was flown to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston where he died about two weeks later. Michaud suffered minor injuries from the crash.