Retired Harvard professor charged in motor vehicle death of Newton teacher

By Laura Paine/Staff Writer Wicked Local Newton Posted Oct 19, 2010 @ 03:59 PM Newton — An 81-year-old retired Harvard professor has been charged with motor vehicle homicide for the July crash that killed Newton Country Day teacher Marcia Kearney, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone announced on Oct. 13. Detlev Vagts, Bemis Professor of International Law, Emeritus, at Harvard, has been cited with motor vehicle homicide, following the July 8 accident in which his car hit the Vespa of Kearney, 54, of Northampton. According to a statement from Leone’s office, Kearney was driving her motor scooter west on Ward Street when she attempted to turn left on Grant Avenue, applying her directional. As the victim was making the turn, she was hit by Vagts’ vehicle, a Subaru Legacy. Investigators alleged that the defendant had failed to keep right on the road and his vehicle was partially in the opposite lane of travel on Ward Street. It was alleged that Vagts hit Kearney’s Vespa from behind and struck the rear left side of her vehicle with the right side of his front passenger side bumper. The impact of the collision threw the victim from her Vepsa, to about 82 feet from the collision location. Following the crash, Vagts drove 448 feet away before returning to the location of the accident. A witness told police that the night of the accident, she saw a blue car barreling down the street at high speeds. It was reportedly traveling in the oncoming lane with half of its wheels on the sidewalk. The witness also reported that Vagts didn’t slow down after he hit Kearney, and it was as though the motorcycle just crushed beneath him, parts flying to the sides of his vehicle. Vagts told the TAB in a July report that the accident was not his fault. “It’s terribly shocking to have something like this happen, even though I do not feel it was my fault,” he said. A date for an arraignment has not been set yet. Laura Paine can be reached at lpaine@cnc.com. Copyright 2010 Newton TAB. Some rights reserved

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