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Suspect Who Told 'Deer Story' Pleads Not Guilty In Death Of Massachusetts Pedestrian, DA Says

A Western Mass man has pleaded not guilty to hitting and killing a pedestrian and then fleeing the scene.
A Western Mass man has pleaded not guilty to hitting and killing a pedestrian and then fleeing the scene. Photo Credit: Pixabay/QuinceCreative

A Western Mass man who was arrested in connection with a fatal hit-and-run crash that killed a pedestrian entered a plea in the case. 

Peter Toomey, age 51, of Northampton, pleaded not guilty in Greenfield District Court on Wednesday, June 9 to charges of leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death; negligent motor vehicle homicide; and failure to stay in marked lanes, said Laurie Loisel, of the Northwestern District Attorney's Office.

Toomey was charged in connection with the death of 45-year-old Rhonda Thompson, of Shelburne Falls, who was taking her morning walk around 6:30 a.m. in the breakdown lane of Route 2 in Shelburne Tuesday, June 8.

The judge ordered bail be set at $25,000 cash, and ordered if Tommey post bail, he will be required to surrender his driver's license, not operate a motor vehicle, not leave the state, and report to the Greenfield Probation Department twice per week, Loisel said.

Northwestern Assistant District Attorney Joseph Webber, who had asked for a $50,000 bond, argued that Toomey falsely told police that his truck had struck a deer the previous evening, causing heavy front-end damage. 

Webber said Toomey tried to get a friend of his to corroborate his deer story. 

According to Webber, when Toomey was placed under arrested and informed of the charges, he said he did not stop because Thompson was with someone, whom he assumed would summon help.

Defense Attorney Jonah Goldsmith asked the court to set bail at $1,000 cash with the condition that Toomey not drive. 

Goldsmith said Toomey would be unable to post a higher bail, is employed and has family in the area, and is not a flight risk.

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