Thursday, September 18, 2014
My Account  | Login
Nashua;45.0;http://forecast.weather.gov/images/wtf/small/nskc.png;2014-09-18 03:37:49
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Court tosses suit filed by Nashua man against police for pursuing fatal crash case against him

NASHUA – A former Nashua man who has spent seven years fighting accusations from police that he killed a friend in a 2007 crash had his federal suit against the officers and the Nashua Police Department tossed from court this week.

U.S. District Court Judge Joseph DiClerico granted summary judgment to five Nashua police officers, including former Chief Donald Conley, and two state troopers in a decision issued Monday. ...

Sign up to continue

Print subscriber?    Sign up for Full Access!

Please sign up for as low as 36 cents per day to continue viewing our website.

Digital subscribers receive

  • Unlimited access to all stories from nashuatelegraph.com on your computer, tablet or smart phone.
  • Access nashuatelegraph.com, view our digital edition or use our Full Access apps.
  • Get more information at nashuatelegraph.com/fullaccess
Sign up or Login

NASHUA – A former Nashua man who has spent seven years fighting accusations from police that he killed a friend in a 2007 crash had his federal suit against the officers and the Nashua Police Department tossed from court this week.

U.S. District Court Judge Joseph DiClerico granted summary judgment to five Nashua police officers, including former Chief Donald Conley, and two state troopers in a decision issued Monday.

Gorsuch had filed state and federal claims in 2010 that the department maliciously prosecuted him, intentionally inflicted emotional distress, violated his right to due process and that the officers conspired to manufacture evidence against him.

Police charged Gorsuch with negligent homicide after an Oct. 29, 2007, crash on Thornton Road that killed Gorsuch’s friend Daniel Rodriguez, 27, of Nashua. The two had been drinking at the Sky Lounge, which has since closed, and watching the Red Sox clinch the World Series.

Gorsuch consistently
denied he was driving, and after two accident reconstruction experts drafted reports backing that claim, prosecutors dropped the charges against him.

But state police still initiated administrative proceedings to strip Gorsuch of his driver’s
license. Those hearings, two at the Department of Safety Bureau of Hearings and one at Hillsborough County Superior Court, prolonged the conflict and eventually resulted in a second safety hearing at which Gorsuch was again exonerated and his license reinstated.

Gorsuch claimed in his suit that police “trumped-up charges” against him and fabricated evidence, in the form of the original accident reconstruction report prepared by Nashua officers, including Lt. John Fisher, who is now retired, Jeff Maher and Thomas McLeod.

The suit also named Sgt. James Malony, Trooper Charlene Bowman and Mark Nash, who prosecuted Gorsuch before the Department of Safety’s Bureau of Hearings.

Police suspected Gorsuch because Rodriguez’ body was found wedged behind the driver’s seat, and Gorsuch had been able to climb out of the car with only minor injuries, police reports suggest.

Gorsuch and his lawyers claimed that Maloney and other police accident reconstruction investigators ignored other evidence that pointed to his innocence, such as Rodriguez’s shoe found near the gas and brake pedals, and Gorsuch’s Red Sox cap, which was found pinned within the front passenger side airbag.

Gorsuch claimed that police conducted a crash reconstruction analysis “that disregarded science in favor of advancing the theory that Gorsuch was the driver.”

DiClerico ruled that police had probable cause to arrest Gorsuch and initiate prosecution based on what they knew at the time and that the further hearings at the Department of Safety were not initiated by the Nashua officers, so they couldn’t be held liable.

Gorsuch provided no evidence that the officers conspired to ignore evidence favorable to him when writing their original report or that they conspired with Bowman to initiate the Department of Safety hearings, according to the decision.

“Obviously, we are delighted with the results and particularly with the thoroughness of the opinion,” department attorney Brian Cullen said in an email.

Joseph G. Cote can be reached at 594-6415 or jcote@nashua
telegraph.com. Also, follow Cote
on Twitter (@Telegraph_JoeC).