A New Hampshire man was arraigned Friday in Edgartown district court on vehicular manslaughter charges stemming from a fatal car accident on the Fourth of July.
Thomas C. Jones, 53, of Milan, N.H., was arraigned on two counts of motor vehicle homicide and one count of negligent operation of a motor vehicle. Mr. Jones’ son, Seth, 26, and Seth’s girlfriend, Heather Laflamme, 21, were killed in the accident on Barnes Road, in which Mr. Jones was performing a U-turn in a Jeep Wrangler when the Jeep was broadsided by another car.
Mr. Jones, who was joined in the courtroom by several family members, was released on personal recognizance.
Ms. Laflamme’s parents and grandmother traveled from New Hampshire to be in the courtroom Friday, wearing T-shirts that said “In Memory of Heather Laflamme.”
According to a report by state police trooper David Parent filed in court, Mr. Jones was driving a Jeep Wrangler northbound on Barnes Road with his wife, Margaret, in the front seat, and Seth and Ms. Laflamme in the back seat. After debating whether to go to the Tisbury cemetery or the Edgartown parade, the report said, Mr. Jones moved to the right hand side of the road and made a U-turn to reverse direction.
A Volkwagen Tiguan driving behind the vehicle collided with the left side of the Jeep as it made the U-turn. Preliminary calculations for the accident indicated the Tiguan was traveling at 68 miles per hour, and the Jeep was traveling at 17 miles per hour.
Seth Jones and Ms. Laflamme were not wearing seat belts and were ejected from the vehicle, the report said, sustaining serious injuries. They were transported to hospitals off-Island. Ms. Laflamme, a rising senior and dean’s list student at the University of New Hampshire, died three days later at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. Seth Jones, a Marine who served active duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, died about two weeks later at Beth Israel Hospital.
The driver of the Tiguan, Benjamin Johnson, 19, of Cambridge, sustained minor injuries. He was issued a citation for speeding.
Mr. Jones had no comment following the arraignment. A pretrial hearing was scheduled for Jan. 18.