GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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December 4, 2012

Rider deemed at fault in fatal crash

The collision involving a motorcycle and a package delivery truck on Essex Avenue last May that killed the cyclist, Stephen Bennett, 43, was the fault of the rider, according to the State Police Collision Reconstruction Report released Tuesday by the office of Essex County District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett.

However, Joseph Orlando, attorney for Bennett’s widow Tammy and her four children, said a “satisfactory” settlement had previously been reached between the family and UPS as owner of the vehicle with which Bennett’s Harley Davidson collided. Tammy Bennett and her son Hunter, who was 12 at the time, were following directly behind Stephen Bennett’s cycle as they headed toward their home in the nearby Heights of Cape Ann.

The fatal collision occurred as a UPS truck was entering Essex Avenue (Route 133) from Fernwood Lake Avenue.

According to the State Police report, Bennett’s driving error that caused the accident was his decision to pull parallel to a truck directly ahead of him as its driver signaled for a right turn onto Fernwood Lake Avenue, “steered” to the right and “partially entered the breakdown lane (preparing) for the right turn.”

Tammy Bennett Tuesday referred questions to Orlando, who said he had not yet received his copy of the accident report. Carrie Kimball-Monahan, spokeswoman for the DA’s office, said the office had been informed by the Gloucester Police Department that the Bennett family and its representatives had been notified and given copies of the report.

After he received a copy via email from the Times, Orlando said he had only time to read the conclusion, which held Stephen Bennett responsible for the accident.

“It is very clear,” he said, that the conclusion “was written by someone who had not witnessed the accident.”

He said he would have been prepared to put Tammy Bennett and Hunter Bennett on the witness stand to challenge any conclusion that Stephen Bennett caused the accident.

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