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Old 04-25-06, 09:53 AM   #1
BostonFixed
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Professional cyclist hits, kills expectant mother and unborn child

From today's Boston Globe....

http://www.boston.com/news/local/art...e_fatal_crash/

[After today you will need a login and a password to read the story, so here is the text:]


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Grieving fiancé says 'everything was perfect' before fatal crash
By John R. Ellement, Globe Staff | April 25, 2006


CLINTON -- James Rousseau yesterday used a single word to describe the one and only time he ever held his son, James Jr.

''Amazing," said Rousseau, recalling the moment Saturday night in Clinton Hospital when he held his son, delivered by emergency surgery, moments before the infant died.

Rousseau and his fiancée, Katelyn DiSessa, both 21, had dropped off his new motorcycle at his mother's house in Clinton and were headed back to their apartment in Leominster when their car was hit by a van driven by David E. Zoller, 33, of Littleton.

''I couldn't have made the whole situation any better," Rousseau said of the life he and DiSessa were living until Saturday night. ''Everything was perfect."

Rousseau spoke moments before Zoller was arraigned in Clinton District Court on two counts of motor vehicle homicide while drunk and operating negligently. Zoller pleaded not guilty to those charges stemming from the crash Saturday about 6 p.m. and was ordered held on $50,000 cash bail by Judge Martha Scannell Brennan.

Rousseau was driving westbound on Route 62 in Lancaster when Zoller's vehicle crossed the centerline, forcing Rousseau to veer to the left to avoid colliding head-on, according to Rousseau and police.

Zoller's Ford van smashed into the front passenger side, fatally injuring DiSessa, who was eight months pregnant. She was rushed to Clinton Hospital.

Zoller's parents were in the courtroom, sitting silently just a few feet away from where Rousseau and DiSessa's grief-stricken relatives sat, some of whom were openly weeping as they clutched photographs of their lost relative.

According to his attorney, Zoller has never been arrested before, has worked for the same lumber yard for 17 years, and is the emotional and financial support for his parents, with whom he lives.

''This is a tragic accident," John F. Gallant said. He also said that Zoller is a professional mountain bike rider. Zoller's family left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.

According to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, Zoller was involved in a crash in 2003 in Concord, but had no other driving violations until Saturday's fatal crash.

According to a Lancaster police report filed in court, Zoller refused to take a breath test but was charged with drunken driving after officers smelled alcohol on his breath and determined that he was unable to walk steadily after the crash.

Zoller also allegedly said he had ''two or three beers" at a friend's house in Rutland about 1 p.m. Zoller had met friends at Worcester Airport and then had gone mountain bike riding, the report states.

During an interview before the arraignment, Rousseau said he can't sleep because every time he closes his eyes, he sees Zoller's van coming toward him and then hears the sounds of the two vehicles colliding.

''I just heard the bang," he said. ''It was so loud I didn't hear the airbag go off in my face."

Rousseau said he jumped out of the smashed GMC Jimmy and rushed over to DiSessa and asked her to talk. ''I just wanted her to say something, and she wouldn't," he said.

In court, one of DiSessa's aunts, Cheryl Medeiros, left her seat and stood in the aisle to get a better view of Zoller.

Outside the courtroom, Medeiros said she rushed to Clinton Hospital at 2 a.m., expecting to greet DiSessa and the newborn. Instead, she found her niece strapped to a gurney, tubes running from her mouth, her body stained with blood.

Like Rousseau, Medeiros got to briefly meet James Rousseau Jr. ''He was absolutely beautiful," she said, between sobs. ''He was a person. He was eight months."

''It wasn't supposed to happen, you know?" Medeiros said of the loss of DiSessa and her son. ''It wasn't supposed to happen."

John Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com.

© Copyright 2006 Globe Newspaper Company.
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Old 04-25-06, 09:59 AM   #2
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A tragic and unnecessary accident, to be sure. My sympathies lie completely with the mother and child who died.

"According to his attorney, Zoller has never been arrested before, has worked for the same lumber yard for 17 years" - how was Zoller a "professional cyclist"? I couldn't find any reference in the article suggesting that he was in any way professional.
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Old 04-25-06, 10:02 AM   #3
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A proffesional cyclist or a drunk motorist? Seems like the later and nothing to do with cycling.
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Old 04-25-06, 10:09 AM   #4
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I guess I falsely assumed that you would read the article before commenting on it...

Drunk aftrer 2-3 beers?! Must be a lightweight...

Quote:
Grieving fiancé says 'everything was perfect' before fatal crash
By John R. Ellement, Globe Staff | April 25, 2006


CLINTON -- James Rousseau yesterday used a single word to describe the one and only time he ever held his son, James Jr.

''Amazing," said Rousseau, recalling the moment Saturday night in Clinton Hospital when he held his son, delivered by emergency surgery, moments before the infant died.

Rousseau and his fiancée, Katelyn DiSessa, both 21, had dropped off his new motorcycle at his mother's house in Clinton and were headed back to their apartment in Leominster when their car was hit by a van driven by David E. Zoller, 33, of Littleton.

''I couldn't have made the whole situation any better," Rousseau said of the life he and DiSessa were living until Saturday night. ''Everything was perfect."

Rousseau spoke moments before Zoller was arraigned in Clinton District Court on two counts of motor vehicle homicide while drunk and operating negligently. Zoller pleaded not guilty to those charges stemming from the crash Saturday about 6 p.m. and was ordered held on $50,000 cash bail by Judge Martha Scannell Brennan.

Rousseau was driving westbound on Route 62 in Lancaster when Zoller's vehicle crossed the centerline, forcing Rousseau to veer to the left to avoid colliding head-on, according to Rousseau and police.

Zoller's Ford van smashed into the front passenger side, fatally injuring DiSessa, who was eight months pregnant. She was rushed to Clinton Hospital.

Zoller's parents were in the courtroom, sitting silently just a few feet away from where Rousseau and DiSessa's grief-stricken relatives sat, some of whom were openly weeping as they clutched photographs of their lost relative.

According to his attorney, Zoller has never been arrested before, has worked for the same lumber yard for 17 years, and is the emotional and financial support for his parents, with whom he lives.

''This is a tragic accident," John F. Gallant said. He also said that Zoller is a professional mountain bike rider. Zoller's family left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.

According to the Registry of Motor Vehicles, Zoller was involved in a crash in 2003 in Concord, but had no other driving violations until Saturday's fatal crash.

According to a Lancaster police report filed in court, Zoller refused to take a breath test but was charged with drunken driving after officers smelled alcohol on his breath and determined that he was unable to walk steadily after the crash.

Zoller also allegedly said he had ''two or three beers" at a friend's house in Rutland about 1 p.m. Zoller had met friends at Worcester Airport and then had gone mountain bike riding, the report states.

During an interview before the arraignment, Rousseau said he can't sleep because every time he closes his eyes, he sees Zoller's van coming toward him and then hears the sounds of the two vehicles colliding.

''I just heard the bang," he said. ''It was so loud I didn't hear the airbag go off in my face."

Rousseau said he jumped out of the smashed GMC Jimmy and rushed over to DiSessa and asked her to talk. ''I just wanted her to say something, and she wouldn't," he said.

In court, one of DiSessa's aunts, Cheryl Medeiros, left her seat and stood in the aisle to get a better view of Zoller.

Outside the courtroom, Medeiros said she rushed to Clinton Hospital at 2 a.m., expecting to greet DiSessa and the newborn. Instead, she found her niece strapped to a gurney, tubes running from her mouth, her body stained with blood.

Like Rousseau, Medeiros got to briefly meet James Rousseau Jr. ''He was absolutely beautiful," she said, between sobs. ''He was a person. He was eight months."

''It wasn't supposed to happen, you know?" Medeiros said of the loss of DiSessa and her son. ''It wasn't supposed to happen."

John Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com.

© Copyright 2006 Globe Newspaper Company.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
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Old 04-25-06, 10:11 AM   #5
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''This is a tragic accident," John F. Gallant said. He also said that Zoller is a professional mountain bike rider. Zoller's family left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.

When I saw the title of the thread I thought a expectant mother was hit by someone riding a bike, not a drunk in a car.

Really sad.
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Old 04-25-06, 10:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbunk
''This is a tragic accident," John F. Gallant said. He also said that Zoller is a professional mountain bike rider. Zoller's family left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.

When I saw the title of the thread I thought a expectant mother was hit by someone riding a bike, not a drunk in a car.

Really sad.

Exactly... what he did other than drinking driving pretty much doesn't make a hill of beans... at the moment of the accident, he was a DRUNK DRIVER, and that is the part that matters.
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Old 04-25-06, 10:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BostonFixed
I guess I falsely assumed that you would read the article before commenting on it...

Drunk aftrer 2-3 beers?! Must be a lightweight...
I did read the article in full. He said he had 2-3beers, the police noted he was wobbly and charged him with Drunk driving. (Maybe he did only have 3 beers, but in conjuction with exercising hard and becoming dehyrdated.)

Bottom line is that he was charged as a drunk driver, not as a professional cyclist. I really don't see the signicance of him being a cyclist other than the wild speculation that the exercise prior/post to drinking may have contributed to getting more intoxicated than expected from a few beers.

Al
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Old 04-25-06, 10:31 AM   #8
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I gotta agree with noisebeam on this. Being a professional cyclist has nothing to do with this tragedy. Your title to the thread is misleading...the implication is that he struck the expectant mother with a bicycle.
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Old 04-25-06, 11:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
Maybe he did only have 3 beers
Exactly. Maybe. Matbe he had two or three six packs. His recklessness apparantly (according to the news article)just killed a expectant mother and infant. Considering his situation, why take him on his word about how much he drank before the accident?
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Old 04-25-06, 11:19 AM   #10
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Remarking that Zoller is a professional cyclist serves two purposes, one of which is an attempt to add some more human character to the story. The other purpose is to attempt to quasi demonise him as someone who should know better, coming from a group of people typically more at risk from drink drivers.

This is a stupid assertion, everyone should know better.
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Old 04-25-06, 11:21 AM   #11
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+1 for the above.

Not to be picky, Boston, but how can the driver be a professional mountain biker if he has spent the last 17 years working in a lumber yard? At best he would be pro-am. Misleading thread.
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Old 04-25-06, 11:34 AM   #12
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coming from a group of people typically more at risk from drink drivers.
How are mountain bikers more at risk from drunk drivers than motorists or lumber yard workers?

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Old 04-25-06, 11:35 AM   #13
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perfect illustration of why I never ever drink or drive...
if I have so much as a beer, i make sure I get a full night's sleep before I drive again,
not because i beleive I'm actually impaired,, but because if the worst happens,
i don't want to think, or to have anyone else think,
that alcohol played a role.
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Old 04-25-06, 11:43 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by noisebeam
How are mountain bikers more at risk from drunk drivers than motorists or lumber yard workers?

Al
It's more to do with his being a "cyclist" even though we have no indication that he ever rides on the road.
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Old 04-25-06, 11:51 AM   #15
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aren't all american "professional mountain bike racers" working in lumberyards? There hasn't been prize money in NORBA in the last 2 years.
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Old 04-25-06, 11:57 AM   #16
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aren't all american "professional mountain bike racers" working in lumberyards? There hasn't been prize money in NORBA in the last 2 years.
Yep, it's just like "Flashdance"! With spandex and everything.
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Old 04-25-06, 12:07 PM   #17
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and is the emotional and financial support for his parents, with whom he lives.
Yup, sounds like a professional mountain biker to me.
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Old 04-25-06, 12:49 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JackTheLadd
+1 for the above.

Not to be picky, Boston, but how can the driver be a professional mountain biker if he has spent the last 17 years working in a lumber yard? At best he would be pro-am. Misleading thread.
Perfectly put.
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