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Charlene Casey convicted for role in South Boston crash that killed 2-year-old Colin McGrath

Casey's car collided with a van that careened out of control and struck Colin McGrath on a nearby sidewalk.

Defendant Charlene Casey sits in court during her trial at Suffolk Superior Courthouse in Boston, MA on October 11, 2022. Casey was accused of causing a car crash in South Boston that killed 22-month-old Colin McGrath. Craig F. Walker/Boston Globe

The woman charged for causing the chain reaction crash that killed a toddler in South Boston four years ago was found guilty by a Suffolk Superior Court jury Wednesday. 

Charlene Casey, 67, was found guilty of negligent motor vehicle homicide. She faces up to 2 and a half years in prison, a spokesperson for Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden said. 

On July 25, 2018, Casey was waved into the intersection of East Sixth Street and L Street by another driver. Her Toyota Prius collided with a van that was traveling through the intersection, causing it to veer out of control and jump a nearby curb. Two-year-old Colin McGrath was in a stroller on that sidewalk, being pushed by a nanny and accompanied by his 4-year-old sister. McGrath died after being hit by the van. 

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“While we’re grateful for the jury’s decision, we are fully aware that no verdict can even begin to alleviate the grief the McGrath family and their loved ones will forever hold over the loss of Colin. This case was tragic and heartbreaking in every way,” Hayden said in a statement.  

A jury delivered its verdict after about eight hours of deliberation that began on Tuesday afternoon, according to The Boston Globe. Jurors visited the site of the fatal crash this week before deliberating.  

Steven Boozang, Casey’s lawyer, said during his closing argument that the crash occurred after Casey came to a complete stop and looked both ways at the intersection. She was then waved forward by Kevin Bui, another motorist. 

Bui was the final witness to testify on Tuesday, the Globe reported. Bui testified that he waved Casey forward because he knew she would not be able to cross the busy intersection for a while if he did not let her go. Bui said that he made eye contact with Casey while she was stopped and then waved her forward. Right after that, Bui heard the sound of a revving engine. 

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The sound was “like someone was stepping on the gas. I didn’t see the vehicle but I heard it,” Bui testified, according to the Globe

Boozang said in court that the van was being driven by a contractor in a rush to get home who was also distracted by a marijuana pipe, the Globe reported. Boozang argued that the contractor did not see Casey because he was not paying proper attention to the road. 

“Just because there is an accident doesn’t mean there’s evidence of negligence,” Boozang said in his closing argument. 

Suffolk Assistant District Attorney David McGowan argued that the case was purely centered around Casey’s negligence, not the decisions made by other drivers. 

“But for Charlene Casey’s negligence, Colin McGrath would be alive,” McGowan said in his closing argument, according to the Globe. “She saw that wave, and she hit the gas, and disaster followed.”

Last week, McGrath’s mother, the nanny pushing him at the time, and multiple bystanders all testified

One bystander, Mary Kate Shea, testified that she tried administering CPR to McGrath after the crash. When he didn’t respond, she noticed that “his little ears were turning bluish gray,” according to the Globe.

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