TOM MOORE, HIT-AND-RUN VICTIM’S FATHER, SPEAKS IN A PLANET !!EXCLUSIVE!! … MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT THE QUESTIONABLE NILAN VERDICT … SOURCES SAY CHARGES IMMINENT IN FEDS’ PROBATION DEPARTMENT SCANDAL … plus BILL STURGEON LIGHTS UP THE AIR (WHAT, YOU THINK IT’S EASY?)
BY DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, JAN. 20, 2012) — When the Boring Broadsheet published its story on the dismissal of police charges against Meredith Nilan in the hit-and-run incident involving Peter Moore, it did so with no byline, quoting only Ms. Nilan’s attorney, Tim Shugrue.
Moreover, the BB had access to photos showing extensive damage to the car police say Ms. Nilan was driving on the night of the incident. Naturally, the BB did not publish those highly relevant news photos. THE PLANET obtained its own set of pictures and published them. The BB also completely ignored the victim’s side of the story, until our continued coverage of this case forced their hand.
THE PLANET is gratified that the BB had no other choice but to run something on Peter Moore. The daily rag has been dragged, kicking and screaming, into a semblance of coverage on the Nilan hit-and-run case. That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for nobody.
THE PLANET has demonstrated what a little investigative can produce. We follow up with an interview with Peter Moore’s father.
Tom Moore is a retired Hartford, Conn., police officer, having served the force for decades. In other words, he is doubly qualified to speak: first as the victim’s father, and second as an experienced law enforcement official. He spoke to THE PLANET from his home in Florida:
“Peter suffered a brain injury after being struck as he was rendered unconscious,” Mr. Moore tell THE PLANET. “Therefore, his recollection(s) of the events just prior to and after the incident are unclear. He remembers jogging with his dog on a leash on the west side of Winesap. He was running north facing the oncoming traffic. He heard the Nilan vehicle behind him and saw that it was in a position to strike him. He threw the dog to safety and then attempted to jump out of the way himself.
” When he was able to stand and in a dazed condition, he believed that both he and the dog had made it to safety and that his injuries were the result of a hard landing when he jumped from the path of the oncoming vehicle.
“After limping home, his wife pleaded with him to seek medical attention. He was reluctant to summon an ambulance, as he did not realize that his injuries were as severe as they later proved to be, and since he was employed by the hospital [Berkshire Medical Center], he may have been a little embarrassed to be seen there in his present condition.
Tom Moore continued: “Peter is almost 46 years old but is in incredible physical shape. He is a long distance runner, a mountain biker, a cross-country and downhill skier. Prior to being injured he was looking forward to the upcoming ski season at a local resort in your area, where he was the Captain of the Ski Patrol. All of these things have been taken from him by Ms. Nilan’s inattention or impairment.”
Mr. Moore says his sone “was able to get his dog to safety,” adding that “the animal is physically fine but if out walking and [he] comes to the intersection of Macintosh and Winesap, he will refuse to turn right or north and go up the street to where Peter was struck.”
Peter Moore’s father also wanted to add one more thing:
“There have been many questions as to why Peter went home after being struck and how was he able to do this after being so severely injured. To be able to walk that far on a broken leg, with a broken neck, and massive internal injuries seems almost an impossibility.
During my 23 years in law enforcement as a police officer, however, I have observed the shot, the stabbed, the beaten and the sexually assaulted attempt to return home or to a location where they feel safe as they want to distance themselves from the location of their trauma. Many knew that they were going to die, but they still attempted to flee from the location where they became a crime victim.”
THE PLANET thanks Mr. Moore for his time and cooperation. We wish him, his wife Susan, and most of all their son Peter the best for a full and speedy recovery from a horrific (brain injuries, broken neck, broken legs, multiple bruises and cuts) experience.
NO ONE WANTS VENGEANCE; WE THE PEOPLE ONLY WANT JUSTICE, AS WELL AS A JUSTIFIED BELIEF THAT THE COURTS ARE IMPARTIAL
Let’s be clear. No one is looking for vigilante justice or kangaroo courts in the case against Meredith Nilan. Tell Judge Roy Bean and Edgar Buchanan to head west, out of town. We do want justice, of course, which is ALWAYS the minimum assumption We The People must have for our courts. Moreover, we want to be safe and secure in our perception of equal rights and responsibilities under the law — that Lady Justice indeed wears a blindfold.
And also to be clear: If the magistrate had found reason for the case to proceed, that simply sends it to trial. It would not have been a determination of innocence or guilt. On the face of it, an open court proceeding would seem a much more proper venue than a secret, closed-door clerk magistrate’s hearing.
How Does a Near Fatality Hit-and-Run Case End up as a Simple Misdemeanor?
So here’s THE question: How does a near fatal hit-and-run incident — in which a pedestrian is severely injured, at speed enough to force his head through the windshield, just below and to the right of the driver’s seat, dent the hood, and take off the front grill — how does that become a misdemeanor, subject to a magistrate’s ruling that there was insufficient evidence to send it to trial? And how, with the evidence available, does a magistrate find insufficient evidence for the case to proceed? Certainly, one of the most plausible explanations out of the many is this: The case was fixed, from the get-go, by the driver’s father: the Veddy Connected Clifford Nilan. Is that what happened? Who’s convinced that it did NOT happen? And how do we restore the public’s confidence in the local courts?
From the website criminal-law-lawyer-source.com: “If you are involved in a car accident that injures a person or animal or results in damage to another person’s property, it is illegal to leave the accident scene without calling police. Such an incident is referred to as hit and run, a crime that can result in serious consequences, ranging from high fines to prison time.”
Based on what we know and the evidence that has thus far surfaced, there seems to be no question that:
*Meredith Nilan hit Peter Moore at about 8:15 p.m. on Dec. 8 in front of 6 Winesap Drive.
*Moore was severely injured and nearly killed. His injuries included brain damage, according to Tom Moore, the victim’s father.
*The driver left the scene without calling the police.
Add that up. If your name is Mary Jane Kapanski and not Meredith Nilan, what do you think happens to you? What happens to you if you are unavailable for the police to check if you’ve been drinking? What do Ms. Nilan’s colleagues in the Berkshire Young Professionals say about her drinking earlier that night at a BYP bash in Great Barrington?
The Law Seems Clear: ANY Personal injury accident Requires the Driver to Remain at the Scene Until Police Arrive
Here is another excerpt from the same law website:
“When the hit and run accident involves injury to another person, penalties are much more severe. The driver may face fines, DMV points, prison time and a revocation of his or her driver’s license and/or insurance policy. Most states’ laws require a minimum of liability insurance to be able to register an automobile. … People involved in any type of motor vehicle accident where injury or damage occurs are required to remain at the scene until police arrive.”
Read that last sentence again: “People involved in any type of motor vehicle accident where injury or damage occurs are required to remain at the scene until police arrive.” We do not see the exception for “any” in the Nilan case, but then again, we are not an impartial magistrate from Westfield who, according to Ms. Nilan’s attorney, didn’t know anyone involved in the case nor the explosive political nature of the verdict he was called upon to reach. That’s what they’re asking us to believe, on their word only, since we have no information from the hearing itself.
THE PLANET obtained through sources photos of the vehicle police say Ms. Nilan was driving on the night in question. (see PLANET from yesterday and two days ago). Looking at the damage, and especially at the extent of windshield damage (in close proximity to the driver’s seat), is Ms. Nilan’s claim credible? She says she thought she hit an animal (a deer or a dog) and not a human being. Even allowing for this mistake, it would appear that the law required her to stop, notify police, and wait until they arrived at the scene. Or are we mistaken?
Can we presume she had a cell phone or smart phone in her at the time of the accident? What 24-year-old doesn’t have such a device? If she did, why didn’t she make that phone call to the police? What do the logs of her cell phone show?
She ‘Saw Nothing, Found Nothing, and at First, Apparently, Did Nothing’
Ms. Nilan says she stopped the car, looked around, found nothing, and therefore continued on. Is that credible, to a neutral observer, given the damage to that vehicle? And is there truth to the story that she drove from the accident scene to Patrick’s Pub, where the Pittsfield Court system was having its the holiday party (confirmed by a Patrick’s staffer), to find her father? Was she overheard telling her father at Patrick’s that she thought she hit a person with her car?
Given Cliffy Nilan’s actions in covering up for his great buddy Angelo Stracuzzi, how can anyone reasonably have the sense justice was served in this case?
We don’t know how it normally works, but it does appear the hearing before the Westfield magistrate (he came to Pittsfield; the mountain did not go to Mohammed) was set up with lightning speed. No media were allowed in to witness and report. No members of public were allowed in as witnesses. We don’t know what questions were asked, who if anyone represented Peter Moore, or even if the magistrate viewed photos of the indicent. We know absolutely nothing of what went on, and yet, Ms. Nilan, Cliffy Nilan, and the courts would have us accept the verdict without the slightest wonder.
THE PLANET has heard that District Attorney David Capeless assisted the police department’s appeal of the decision. We can’t commend the DA for doing his job, but we will say that if Capeless is instrumental in seeing this matter through to an equitable resolution, he is doing We the People a great service.
We The People simply haven’t accepted — and can’t accept, based on the past behavior of Mr. Nilan — the “insufficient evidence” verdict as being a case of justice served. Rather, they will see it as justice thwarted because a 24-year-old woman has a connected daddy. Meanwhile, a severely injured man must go about the long, grueling process of putting a nightmare behind him.
THE PLANET urges the Pittsfield Police Department to pursue their appeal as aggressively as possible. We also call upon District Attorney David Capeless to make a statement about this case and continue to assist the cause of Lady Justice by putting her blindfold back on.
GLOBE: CHARGES COMING DOWN SOON IN PROBATION DEPARTMENT SCANDAL
Speaking of Probation, which one is doing whenever considering the actions of Clifford “Cliffy” Nilan, don’t look now, but it appears that charges will soon be coming down from the federal investigation into practices and procedures at the state probation department. That would be Cliff Nilan’s employer.
Sources are telling the Boston Globe that criminal charges are imminent “against numerous probation employees, politicians, and potentially others in the scandal.”
Here is what Thomas Farragher and Scott Allen of the Globe’s Spotlight Team are reporting.(FULL DISCLOSURE: THE PLANET worked with Farraghar and Andrea Estes of the Spotlight Team on local aspects of the newspaper’s investigation).
This piece ran on Jan. 17 in the Globe:
Will any of the local probation officials be called before The Man for any local crud?Stay tuned, as we say in radio.
STURGEON KEEPS THE AIR HUMMING ON WBRK
WRBK talkmeister Bill Sturgeon, with whom THE PLANET did 90 minutes of scintillating AM radio yesterday, keeps the ship afloat, and everyone within the station’s signal should be grateful.
Unless you’ve done a daily talk show in a local market that’s loaded with political nitroglycerin, a ton of thin skins, and a gaggle of Juicy Secrets, you have no idea of the “ancillary activities” you must deal with — and to refresh your memory, THE PLANET did just that for 14 years on The Dan Valenti Show.
Along with our hour and a half of air time, Bill and THE PLANET got in a good amount of shop talk off the air. That remains between the two of us, of course, but the upshot is that day after day, come what may, Bill Sturgeon launches another adventurous three hours of local talk. It’s one of the most challenging and exacting ways to become a local celebrity. There’s always someone getting their hair mussed, no matter what you do or say.
If it isn’t an advertiser, it’s a caller who didn’t like the way you ended a call. If it’s not station management, it’s a politician who can’t get over someone asking a discouraging word about something he or she did. You’re supposed to say yes to every fund raiser and good cause that comes along, and too often, people have no problem using you because of the position you occupy. You’re set up a thousand times, and if you’re not careful, you’re knocked down as many times.
A live microphone on a general interest talk show is the bully pulpit, especially on a show that actually tries to say something (and you know what we mean by that), and there’s not one person in a thousand who can handle such a spotlight and the pressure that goes with it. Bill Sturgeon can, has, and will.
Live, spoken talk — oh, how unlike writing! The written word allows you to revise your thoughts into their highest articulateness. Live talk, though, comes out raw: once you say it, it’s gone. THE PLANET loves and always has the urgency, the highwire-without-a-net aspect of that.
Our point, in sum, is this: Next time you tune in to Bill Sturgeon’s show, give a nod of thanks that it’s there.
WEEKEND ON THE PLANET IS UPON US, AS WE BECOME SOCIAL DIRECTOR FOR A WORLD FULL OF PRINCES AND PRINCESSES. MAY YOUR BE HAPPY, HEALTHY, AND SAFE.
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.