A Boston Globe delivery truck driver is recovering at Massachusetts General Hospital today after a narrow brush with death when his truck, hit by an allegedly drunk driver on Interstate 93 early Monday morning, went hurtling over a guardrail and plummeted to an exit ramp 40 feet below.
Paul J. Healy Jr., or “PJ” as his co-workers call him, is listed in fair condition at the hospital, a spokesman said.
Healy’s mother said he suffered numerous injuries, including fractured ribs, fractured vertebrae, a bruised kidney, and several lacerations, in the crash.
“He thought he was not going to survive once he saw himself going over the guardrail,” Jacqueline Elinoff, Healy’s mother, said.
Healy’s father also drove a delivery truck for the Globe before he passed away about 10 years ago, Elinoff said.
Healy was driving a green Globe delivery truck northbound near the Leverett Connector shortly before 3:15 a.m. Monday when a 2006 Cadillac sedan struck his truck, State Police said. The truck crashed over the guardrail and landed on the ramp to the Leverett Connector at Exit 26.
Video of the incident released by the state Department of Transportation appeared to show the sedan striking the truck from behind and pushing it over the guard rail. The truck rolled when it landed, but did not strike any other vehicles.
The driver of the Cadillac, Vivencia Bellegarde, 25, of Everett, was charged Monday with negligent operation of a motor vehicle, operating under the influence of alcohol, and operating under the influence of alcohol causing serious bodily injury, according to the office of Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley. She was also cited for a marked lanes violation.
A not-guilty plea was entered on her behalf Monday at her arraignment in Boston Municipal Court, where she was ordered held on $10,000 cash bail and barred from driving or consuming alcohol if she posts that amount, Conley’s office said.
Bellegarde was found after the crash in the breakdown lane of I-93 North just before Exit 28, sitting in the passenger seat of the Cadillac, officials said. She was arrested by the State Police.
“She initially denied being the operator of the vehicle,” said Renee Nadeau Algarin, a spokeswoman for Conley’s office.
Bellegarde has a lengthy history of driving infractions, including a previous drunken driving arrest in Lincoln, according to a copy of her record released by the Registry of Motor Vehicles.
Her record also shows citations for not wearing a seat belt, speeding, failing to stop, and driving on a suspended license last year in New Hampshire. Her license has been suspended 10 times.
She refused a breath analysis test after Monday’s accident, triggering a six-month suspension of her license, records show.
A spokesman for the Transportation Department told the Globe Monday that the suspension would increase to three years because of her previous drunken driving arrest.