Motorcycle Crash Kills One MA Police Chief, Injures Another

Along the scenic roads and rolling hills outside of Montpellier, Vermont, a tragedy took the life of one retired police chief and critically injured another. Former Kingston, MA Police Chief Joseph Rebello was killed and retired Hudson Police Chief Richard Braga sustained serious injuries after a car struck their motorcycles head-on in the rural Vermont town of Woodbury. Two other motorcyclists were travelling with the men but were able to avoid the car and walked away uninjured.

Joseph Rebello, 55, had just retired as Kingston Police Chief only one year ago. After news of the accident broke, words of support poured in from police departments around the state. Rebello was pronounced dead at the scene by EMS officials and his good friend, Richard Braga, 57 was critically injured and rushed to an area hospital, where he is now listed in stable condition.

According to police reports, 57-year-old Frank Sargent was driving his Subaru Legacy along Route 14 in Woodbury when his car crossed the center line and struck Rebello and Braga head-on while they were riding their motorcycles. It was not immediately clear why Sargent’s vehicle crossed the center line, but police have not released any information indicating he was driving under the influence of anything and as of 12:00pm on Monday no charges have been filed.

Joseph Rebello was a police officer for 33 years, according to Fox 25 Boston. He served for 23 years as a chief in multiple surrounding communities before serving Kingston for eight years prior to his recent retirement in January of 2013. He leaves behind a wife and two children.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that nearly 81,000 people were injured and 4,612 were killed in motorcycle accidents in 2011 in the United States; a 2% increase from 2010 and a staggering 41% increase from 2002 data. While motorcycle accidents account for only about 14% of the total motor-vehicle accidents in the United States annually, the NHTSA estimates that for every vehicle mile traveled, motorcycle drivers are 30 times more likely than passenger car occupants to die in an accident, and five times more likely to be injured in an accident.

NHTSA data reveals that almost half of all fatal motorcycle accidents involve collisions with other motor vehicles. According to past data 75% of those accidents occurred with the motor vehicle in front of the motorcycle, as in the case of Joseph Rebello and Richard Braga.

This tragic accident follows a string of fatal or serious motorcycle collisions with motor vehicles. Warmer summer weather means more motorcyclists are on the road. As with pedestrians, bicyclists, and other cars on the road, drivers need to be especially aware during the summer months to ensure safety for everyone. By now, most drivers are familiar with the DOT’s “Check twice, save a life” slogan, and it should serve as a simple reminder to be vigilant when sharing the road; you just might save someone’s life.

At the law offices of Altman & Altman our experienced team of attorneys has been assisting victims of motorcycle and car accidents for almost 50 years. Motorcycle accidents often result in more serious injuries than other motor vehicle accidents, and this can make a difficult situation even more challenging when a victim is forced to miss work. If you or a loved one was involved in a motorcycle collision, give one of our experienced Boston Car Accident Attorneys a call for a free consultation. Our attorneys are committed and ready to assist you through this difficult and confusing time, and our lawyers are available around the clock to answer any and all questions about your case.

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