Lowell man to spend six months in jail for crash that killed off-duty police officer

A Lowell man was convicted Tuesday of motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation for a 2010 drunk driving crash that killed an off-duty Lowell police officer, the Middlesex district attorney’s office said.

Middlesex Superior Court Judge Bruce Henry sentenced the defendant, Theary Chan of Lowell, to 2 1/2 years years in jail, with six months to serve.

The remainder of the sentence will be suspended for three years under the conditions that Chan — who was allegedly under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash — submit to an alcohol evaluation and comply with treatment, if ordered, the DA’s office said.

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Chan, 29, was involved in a crash on Sept. 10, 2010, in which he collided with a motorcycle at the intersection of Princeton Boulevard and Fister Street in Lowell. Police said they discovered an open container of an alcoholic beverage in Chan’s car at the time of the crash.

“This defendant admitted to being ‘buzzed’ after consuming alcohol and then getting behind the wheel of his car,” District Attorney Marian Ryan said in a statement. “As we all know too well, impaired driving can have permanent and far-reaching consequences.”

The victim of the crash, Patrick Johnson, 31, was transported to Lowell General Hospital after the accident, and later pronounced dead. Johnson had been a member of the Lowell force since 2004 and had received multiple commendations for his police work.