QUINCY — Norfolk District Attorney Michael W. Morrissey will not face criminal charges for his role in a multi-car crash in Milton July 16 that sent the Quincy Democrat to the hospital and injured three other people.
Morrissey, who was at Quincy District Court for a closed-door hearing before a clerk-magistrate Monday morning, released a variety of records to show that he fainted, and was not inebriated or distracted by his phone when the crash occurred.
“District Attorney Morrissey was found responsible on a civil matter of failure to stay within marked lanes and a $100 fine was imposed,” said Erika Gully-Santiago, a spokeswoman for the state trial courts. She said Morrissey will not face a criminal charge of operating to endanger, which Milton police had asked the clerk-magistrate to issue.
Morrissey later released his medical and cellphone records, which he said he had also provided to the court, in an attempt to be “as open and transparent as possible.”
He said medical records showed he “suffered from a vasovagal syncope which caused me to lose control of my vehicle.” A vasovagal syncope is a fainting spell usually caused by the body’s overreaction to certain triggers, like emotional distress, according to the Mayo Clinic. Morrissey said his episode was “a result of dehydration and fatigue on one of the hottest days of the year.”
The medical records Morrissey provided showed there was no alcohol in his system when he was tested about two-and-a-half hours after the crash.
He said phone records showed he was not on the phone or texting or receiving text messages at the time of the accident.
“My telephone use was not a factor in the accident,” he said.
He said a State Police collision reconstruction report also showed speed was not a factor, he was wearing his seat belt, and the actions he took “were consistent with my medical records detailing I suffered a vaso vagal episode.”
Because of Morrissey’s role as the top law enforcement officer in Norfolk County, whose office has regular contact with Milton police, Worcester District Attorney Joseph D. Early’s office worked with Milton police on the investigation.
“At the time of the accident, I did not know what happened. Individuals at the scene told me my car crossed over the center line causing the accident. I have no reason to dispute that,” Morrissey said in a July 18 statement.
He said he had made a phone call from his car to order a pizza and “shortly after that last telephone call, I was perspiring and felt lightheaded and the next thing I recall is being outside of my car which was stopped across two lanes of traffic.”
Morrissey was hospitalized for two days due to his injuries.
Mobile users unable to see the video, click here.Colin A. Young can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ColinAYoung.