!PLANET EXCLUSIVE! NEW INFORMATION ON NILAN-MOORE CASE: REVISED SEQUENCE OF MEREDITH NILAN’S ACTIVITIES AFTER SHE LEFT ALLIUM’S ON THE NIGHT OF DEC. 8 … GOOD NEWS ON TOBY MOORE: HE CAN NOW WALK PAST THE SPOT WHERE HIS MASTER ALMOST DIED AFTER BEING HIT BY NILAN’S SUV … plus … SOURCE SAYS NILANS HAVE MADE AN OFFER TO THE MOORES TO SETTLE OUT OF COURT
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, FRIDAY, SEPT. 14, 2012) — After all being quiet on the “western front” of the Nilan-Moore Case, new information has emerged that purports to provide a more complete, though not definitive picture, of what happened on the fateful evening of Dec. 8, 2011, and what is happening today.
According to a source familiar with the case in which Meredith Nilan struck and nearly killed jogger-pedestrian Peter Moore with an SUV, Nilan hit Moore when she was returning to Patrick’s Pub, where the Pittsfield Probation Department was holding a Christmas party. Cliff Nilan, head of that department, is Meredith Nilan‘s father.
Here is the sequence of Ms. Nilan‘s actions on that night, according to our source, who is familiar with the criminal investigation:
* On Dec. 8 from 5 to 7 p.m., Meredith Nilan attends a party at Allium’s Restaurant in Great Barrington being thrown by the Berkshire Young Professionals (BEEPERS) division of the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce (CofC). According to witnesses, there is the usual amount of drinking
A New Sequence of Events
Here’s the revised timeline:
* Ms. Nilan leaves Allium’s, time undetermined, though probably closer to 7 p.m. than not.
* Ms. Nilan drives herself to Pittsfield in her father’s SUV.
* Ms. Nilan does not go home but straight to Patrick’s Pub on Bank Row, Park Square, in downtown Pittsfield, where her father and the department are in the midst of their partying. Her boyfriend is also at Patrick’s, according to the source, and he is to meet her there. Some point after she arrives, Ms. Nilan suffers what our source described as a “wardrobe malfunction.” When asked to explain, it appears that she spilled something on herself, either a drink or food.
* She leaves Patrick’s Pub and drives to her Winesap Avenue home, where she lives with her parents, to clean up and/or change clothes.
* She gets back in her father’s SUV intending to drive back to Patrick’s.
* As she is leaving her home on Winesap, she strikes Peter Moore with her SUV. What did she do after that? She said she got out of the car to look around. If she is to be believed, she did not know she hit a person but thought she hit an animal, a dog or a deer. If she is to be believed, she did not discover Peter Moore’s body and drove off. Our source pointed out , though, that while that explanation of actions and events is certainly possible, Moore’s dog Toby was there at the scene, a dog described as “a barker.” The source wondered how that would square with what Ms. Nilan said, since, it is presumed from those who are familiar with Toby’s behavior, the dog would have been upset and would be barking for help. The barking would have led a person to Moore’s laid-out form.
* Ms. Nilan returns to Patrick’s, where she appears shaken and distraught.
* Nilan, according to the source, is overheard (by guests or staff or both) telling her father and boyfriend, “I’ve just hit somebody.” If you recall, Nilan told the police she thought she had hit a deer or a dog. According to the source, those who overheard the remark at Patrick’s are reasonably certain Ms. Nilan said “somebody.” If this information is true, it means she appeared to know she had hit a human being. This would conflict with her story.
* Shortly after hearing this, according to the source, Cliff Nilan calls attorney Tim Shugrue.
Archival Coverage of Case Available on PLANET’s “Search Engine.”
The rest of the events unfold pretty much as we and other media have reported them. Those who wish to refresh themselves on THE PLANET‘s coverage can simply type in “Nilan-Moore” on the search engine function of our landing page.
What’s new here is the sequence of explanation detailing Nilan’s movement after she left Allium’s and how Patrick’s Pub enters the picture. Initially and up to now, there was and has been confusion about this sequence.
The revised sequence indicates that (a) she left Allium’s and (b) did not go straight home but (c) went straight to Patrick’s. She only left Patrick’s, according to our source, to change clothes after her “wardrobe malfuction.” She went back to Patrick’s a second time, after hitting Moore. What does this seemingly minor new detail mean?
These are the facts as best as we can understand them. We shall leave it to others to plug this improved information into the case for whatever significance it may have.
TOBY CAN FINALLY WALK PAST THE SCENE OF HIS MASTER’S NEAR DEATH
Another development in Nilan-Moore concerns to hero of the tale, little Toby, the pup who bravely stood beside Peter Moore after he was struck from behind by Nilan, rolled over twice, and came to rest off the to the side of Winesap Road. Our source said that as bad as Moore’s injuries were (broken bones, brain trauma, and the rest of it), what almost took his life was hypothermia. If was below freezing that night on Dec. 8.
THE PLANET also adds this as an aside. Moore came in for criticism from some quarters after the accident for walking/jogging in the road. We dismiss that criticism as biased and ignorant. We finally found out the apparent reason for him being in the road. According to our source, Moore, an experienced pedestrian who would normally not do this, ran on the side of the road because the sidewalks in front of the houses that line that end (the western side) of Winesap were not shoveled. It had snowed earlier that day. Remember, also, that to hit Moore from behind, Nilan’s vehicle had to jump lanes, to the wrong side of the road from her perspective as driver.
It’s not certain how long Moore laid in the snow, unconscious. It was long enough for Toby’s hair to freeze in his master’s blood, which pooled on the pavement (you remember, there wasn’t much snow by that time in late fall, a pattern that continued all winter). At some point, he staggered to his feet and walked home, with Toby leading the way.
After the accident, when it came time for his walks, Toby would not turn right from his Macintosh Avenue home to head north on Winesap toward East Street. That would have taken him past the spot of the traumatic and near-fatal incident. Dogs have access to an entire other perceptive universe when it comes to these things, and Toby just wouldn’t do it.
Good News on Toby
THE PLANET is pleased to report, though, that Toby has sufficiently recovered to walk past the fateful spot. What appears to have been a catalyst is the repaving of Winesap Road not long ago. Prior to the repaving, Peter Moore’s blood stains could still be seen, months after the accident. The stains survived all winter, spring, and into the summer. That is confirmed by Peter Moore’s father, Tom, a retired captain in the Hartford Police Department.
We have information from two sources that when the city began work on paving in that section of town, Winesap Road was the first one to be paved. The new surface covered up the blood stains, and now Toby will walk past the spot and be OK with it.
That’s a little bit of good news.
As for Peter Moore, his slow recovery continues. Family members say that while he has made remarkable progress, he is still dealing with the physical, mental, and emotional after-effects of his harrowing experience. One family member said that Peter will likely never fully recover.
SOURCE: OFFER HAS BEEN MADE TO HEAD OFF CIVIL CASE
A source has also told THE PLANET that the Nilans have made an offer to the Moores in an attempt to avoid a civil trial. We have yet to confirm that with attorneys, though we have near confirmation (information that would support this assertion of fact, though not officially or definitively) from one of the families.
As best as the source knows, the offer is for $100,000, which apparently is the limit amount of Nilan’s insurance coverage. If that information is true, the Moores now have to decide among their options:
(1) Accept the offer.
(2) Reject the offer.
(3) Reject the offer with a counteroffer.
Each strategy sets up entirely different options from that point.
This would be easiest way to make to nightmare go away. The case has been traumatic for both families. The Moores may wish to put the episode in the past, get what they can, so they can better go on with their lives. The Nilans may wish to settle here rather than face a court trial, where the potential for loss and liability would be far greater than $100,000.
(2) An outright rejection of the offer would send a message, the “see you in court” choice. It would most likely indicate that the Moores do not want to settle out of court and intend to pursue justice through a civil trial. In a civil trial, witnesses are called, evidence is introduced, and many of the procedures are the same as in the criminal trial.
As you may know, Ms. Nilan’s criminal trial ended with a plea, where she admitted to negligent driving. Hit-and-run charges were dismissed. This doesn’t mean that a hit-and-run did not happen. It just means the court didn’t hear evidence on that or determine innocence or guilt. A civil trial would likely focus on that aspect.
Also remember one key difference between a criminal and civil case. To find a person criminally responsible for a hit-and-run incident, the evidence has to convince judge or jury “beyond a reasonable doubt.” That’s a lot of leeway, and rightly so for the protection of the defendant.
In a civil trial, evidence has a lower standard. The convincer need only a “a preponderance of evidence” to suggest a person acted in a manner guilty of hit-and-run. Does the Moore team have that “preponderance?” Depends on who you talk to, but most uninterested observers — and nearly all of the lawyers, judges, and retired judges we have talked to about this case — think so.
The middle road. Here, the Moores would look at $100,000, all of which will likely be covered by Nilans’ insurance, as the ante. That simply gets them in the game. The Moores would then present a counteroffer, an amount they feel would adequately address their physical, mental, and emotional duress. From there, the horse trading would begin for keeps. If the sides reached a mutually agreeable figure, the case would be over. If they could not settle ion terms, it would head to court. That’s where witnesses would be called and, under oath, testify about what they know.
THE PLANET will not predict which option will be selected. We will not offer advice or opinion on which option is the best. We leave that for the better-informed. We conclude by saying that at this point, it seems certain the Moores’ choice will be one of the three.
Based on our interviews and what we hear from THE STOOLEY, THE PLANET doesn’t see option (4) coming into play: That would be that the Moores just walk away.
Would you walk away, having suffered in the manner that the Moores did?
THEY TALK OF YOU AS GOOD AS YOU ARE AND SPEAK OF ME AS BAD AS I AM. YET — AS GOOD AS YOU ARE AND AS BAD AS I AM, I’M AS GOOD AS YOU ARE AS BAD AS I AM!
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.