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State News

Driver charged with injuring nine people on motorcycles

REENFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A driver who authorities say was under the influence of prescription medications when he veered into oncoming traffic on a Massachusetts roadway and crashed into a group of motorcycles, injuring nine people, is being held without bail.

Ryan O’Farrell, 32, of Westerly, Rhode Island, pleaded not guilty in Greenfield District Court on Tuesday to multiple charges, including nine counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and operating under the influence of drugs in connection with Sunday’s crash on Route 10 in Northfield.

O’Farrell was driving a trailer-towing SUV south when he crossed a double yellow line and struck five motorcycles heading north, prosecutors said.

The motorcycles were among a group of nine from a Connecticut motorcycle club.

Nine people who were either operating or passengers on the motorcycles were hurt, and eight required hospitalization, prosecutors said. Three medical helicopters responded to the scene to take the most seriously injured to trauma hospitals.

One suffered a broken pelvis, one is facing amputation, and one was in and out of consciousness as of Tuesday, prosecutor Jeremy Bucci said in court.

Two children, ages 11 and 12, in O’Farrell’s vehicle were also taken to the hospital as a precaution.

O’Farrell had taken three prescription medications, all of which warn that drowsiness is a side effect, and his Connecticut driver’s license had been suspended, Bucci said.

“He should not have been driving,” Bucci said. “It is the Commonwealth’s position that nothing short of incarcerating him would stop him from driving.”

One of the children in O’Farrell’s vehicle warned him he was driving erratically, Bucci said.

O’Farrell’s lawyer, Alan Rubin, argued for low bail, citing his client’s ability to pay.

“He is incredibly remorseful for the injuries he caused,” Rubin said.

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