TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — Two people accused of causing a car crash that killed a local radio producer back in June faced a judge on related charges Tuesday morning.
Samantha Kewer, 20, and Joseph Arraiol, 50, were arraigned at Taunton District Court on a charge of motor vehicle homicide in the death of Jarod Gagnon, 32.
Gagnon, a part-time producer and audio board operator for WPRO since 2008, was killed on Route 44 in Raynham on June 25.
During arraignment, prosecutors said Kewer and Arraiol caused Gagnon’s death with their dangerous driving.
“[Kewer] was following too closely behind Mr. Arraiol. Several witnesses state that they were basically chasing each other, one going in front of the other,” said Assistant District Attorney Michael Sheehan. “At which point Mr. Arraiol cuts off the defendant, who was driving about 60 mph. Mr Arraiol slams on his brakes which causes this defendant’s brakes to lock up and drift into the lane on Rt, 44.”
Court records obtained by Eyewitness News revealed that one eyewitness told police “he heard a vehicle’s engine racing.”
In her statement to police, Kewer said “a good song came on the radio,” so she “decided to continue driving.” That’s when she noticed a green SUV “riding her bumper very close” right before the crash.
Arraiol’s statement told a different story. He told police “he was merely picking up his son from the Shaw’s market and that he was not involved in the crash in any way.”
Prosecutors said Arraiol has a lengthy driving record, including three OUI convictions, the most recent in 1994. He was also convicted the following year of driving on a suspended license and has seven speeding tickets to his name.
Gagnon’s family and friends were in court for Tuesday morning’s arraignments.
“This is the beginning of the next step. The process of some kind of justice,” said friend Joshua Perry.
“We will never forget him, and we will be here through everything,” said his aunt-in-law, Susan Cieri. For him, for his family, for his child, however long it takes. Jarod would be there for anybody. His smile literally would light up a room.”
Kewer was released on personal recognizance. Arraiol’s bail was set at $2,500 cash.