Town Manager Anthony Troiano plans to return to work this month, even as his legal status in connection with a fatal car crash remains unresolved.
A hearing to determine whether Troiano will face charges in the May 15 car crash, which resulted in the death of 69-year-old Lilija Berents of East Falmouth, was originally scheduled for Aug. 20. It has been continued until Sept. 24.
Troiano's attorney, Augustus F. Wagner Jr., requested the continuance to allow his client more time to recover from injuries he sustained in the crash. Troiano will appear before a clerk-magistrate to face possible charges, including motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation, speeding, failure to pass safely, and a marked lane violation.
"I'm doing better. The physical therapy has been to teach me to walk again. I am planning to come back to work [sometime in September], but I am not sure of the date," Troiano said in a telephone interview from his Cape Cod home.
In the crash, Troiano said, he suffered a torn aorta, a crushed pelvis, a collapsed lung, a lacerated kidney, a shattered femur, a broken ankle, and several broken ribs. He spent four weeks immediately following the accident in a medically induced coma at Rhode Island Hospital, and was released after a total of seven weeks. He has spent the past six weeks in intensive physical therapy at the Rehabilitation Hospital of the Cape and Islands in his hometown of East Sandwich.
Troiano said he is unsure of any potential legal or political fallout from the crash and the pending hearing.
"The accident is all in the hands of the lawyers," he said. "It was unfortunate, and I do not have any recollection of the crash. I am a good and careful driver; it was a tragic event because of the death of another person. We pray every day for the Berents family."
On the evening of the crash, Troiano was driving to his home after attending a meeting of the Board of Selectmen in Hopkinton. Police said Troiano tried to pass another vehicle when his 2004 Hyundai sedan hit Barents's 1999
Hopkinton Board of Selectmen chairwoman Muriel Kramer confirmed Troiano's plan to return to his job in September as Hopkinton's first town manager.
Troiano took the post in January, after the town changed its charter. The change removed responsibility for the day-to-day operations of government from the Board of Selectmen.
Troiano said he has already been through one budget cycle, and he is anxious to get back to work.
"At the time of the accident," he said, "we were looking for a new home in Hopkinton. Once I start working again, I will be renting in town. I plan to be working at least 40 hours a week."
"I thank everybody," said Troiano, his voice trembling noticeably. "They've been unbelievable in Burlington," where Troiano worked as the assistant town administrator for three years.
"Everybody has been great, including the Hopkinton Board of Selectmen, and the residents as well," he said. "When you get that kind of support, you are very lucky."