Arraignment delayed again in DUI case involving death of bicyclist
MIDDLEBURY — The arraignment of a 41-year-old woman charged with striking and killing a man on a bicycle while she was allegedly driving under the influence in Ferrisburgh on June 17 has been delayed for a second time, this time at the request of the victim’s family.
Holly Gonyeau of Ferrisburgh had originally been scheduled for arraignment in Addison Superior Court, criminal division, back on June 29, but that date was changed to Monday, July 13, at the request of the Addison County State’s Attorney’s Office. Local prosecutors at that time said they needed more time to work on their case.
But court officials confirmed on Monday that the arraignment had again been delayed to Monday, July 20. That postponement request came from the family of Dr. Kenneth Najarian, the 60-year-old Charlotte man whom authorities allege was struck from behind and killed by Gonyeau while cycling on Greenbush Road.
Gonyeau is the wife of 15-year veteran Williston police Officer Keith Gonyeau. She provided Vermont State Police troopers with a preliminary breath test indicating a blood alcohol content of 0.123 percent, according to VSP reports. The legal limit for driving is 0.08 percent.
This is the third case of a cyclist being struck and killed by a vehicle in Vermont during the past three months.
It was on April 14 that Kelly Boe, 55, of Middlebury lost his life after being struck by a vehicle while riding his bike with his wife Kathy on Hamilton Road in Weybridge. The driver — 27-year-old Nathan Dearing — pleaded innocent in Addison County Superior Court, criminal division, to a felony count of driving under the influence with death resulting, and a misdemeanor count of driving with a suspended license for the fifth time.
On April 27, a car driven by 17-year-old Joseph Marshall struck and killed 47-year-old Richard F. Tom who was cycling in Hinesburg.
Benjamin Luna of the Burlington law firm of Little & Cicchetti is representing the Najarian family’s interests in this latest case. He explained on Monday that the family sought a delay in the arraignment because presiding Addison County Judge Robert Mello was on vacation this week. Middlebury attorney Robert Keiner heard cases on Monday as acting judge in Mello’s absence. Luna also noted local prosecutors had not yet filed their case as of last Friday afternoon, July 10.
“The family was concerned about an attorney handling the arraignment, as opposed to a sitting judge,” said Luna, who filed the motion for a postponement Friday afternoon.
“The family wants to ensure there are no procedural missteps that might jeopardize this case,” Luna said.
Judge Mello agreed to postpone the arraignment until his return to the bench on July 20.
Asked how the Najarian family is doing in the wake of the tragic death of their loved one, Luna said, “I think the family is struggling to make sense of what has happened. I think they are still grieving and in shock.”
Najarian was a radiologist at UVM Medical Center and a professor at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, where he received his medical degree. His specialties were diagnostic radiology and vascular interventional radiology.
Luna added on Monday that the family was anxious at not having yet had the opportunity to view the entirety of the state’s investigation.
“It is an overwhelming situation for someone to be thrown into and can be overwhelming and difficult to navigate,” he said.
Addison County Deputy State’s Attorney Chris Perkett said on Wednesday afternoon that the state’s case against Gonyeau is still being prepared and would be ready by Friday afternoon.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].
The Fresh Air Fund, initiated in 1877 to give kids from New York City the opportunity to e … (read more)
BRISTOL — A memorial service for Mark A. Nelson of Bristol will be held 1 p.m. on Saturday … (read more)
See when your favorite high school team is competing in the fall sports playoffs.