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Williamsburg Man Pleads Guilty to Collision that Killed Local Doctor

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WGGB) — A Williamsburg man has pleaded guilty to a 2012 collision that killed a Hatfield man.

Mary Carey, spokesperson for Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan, says 26-year-old Derek Graves pleaded guilty Friday to a complaint that charged him with negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

Prosecutors say that Graves was behind the wheel of a vehicle on October 31, 2012 when he hit 35-year-old Dr. Pallav Parakh of Hatfield in a crosswalk as he was crossing New South Street in Northampton.

Parakh, who practiced gastroenterology at Baystate Medical Practices in Greenfield, suffered serious injuries and died on November 11, 2012 at Baystate Medical Center.

Carey adds that the investigation found that the crosswalk was “partially obscured by backed-up traffic” at the time of the crash, but “Graves failed to take adequate precautions for the possibility of a pedestrian crossing the street.”

Graves also admitted that he had had close calls in the past at the same crosswalk and that his vehicle had a “bad blind spot” between the driver’s side door and the windshield, according to Carey.

“Pedestrians should feel safe crossing the streets, particularly in crosswalks. In this case, a driver’s momentary inattention claimed the life of a husband, a father, and a doctor. Hopefully, this tragedy heightens awareness for pedestrians and motorists alike, that one cannot be too careful when it comes to safety on our streets,” explains First Assistant District Attorney Steven Gagne.

The investigation also showed no evidence that Graves was distracted by a cell phone at the time of the collision, nor was he under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Pursuant to the plea agreement, Graves was sentenced to two years in a House of Correction, but will serve 30 days and the rest of the sentence will be suspended for three years.

During that time, Graves will be on probation and will be required to meet several conditions, including completing the Mass. Driver Retraining Program, avoid any other traffic violations, and perform 150 hours of community service.

By law, his license will also be suspended for 60 days.

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