No charges to be filed in Mission Hill fire truck crash

December 10, 2009

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Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley's office is expected to announce today that no criminal charges will be filed in the case of Firefighter Kevin M. Kelly, who was killed Jan. 9 when the fire engine he was traveling in crashed into a Mission Hill building.

According to a law enforcement official with knowledge of the case, an investigation into the accident found there was no physical evidence to support charges of manslaughter or negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

Conley's office consulted with experts in forensic motor vehicle examinations who found there was no proof of negligence, said the official.

A formal announcement is expected shortly.

Kelley was in a truck that had just responded to a medical call in Mission Hill and was traveling down Parker Hill Avenue when the driver was unable to stop. Kelley, who was in the passenger seat, sounded the truck's siren to warn pedestrians before the truck crashed into an apartment building in the Mission Hill neighborhood.

The crash sparked an independent review commissioned by the fire department, which found that the department had for years taken a lax approach to all areas of fleet management, including failing to perform adequate preventive maintenance on firetrucks, keeping shoddy records of repairs, and relying on a staff of insufficiently trained firefighters who did not have fundamental knowledge such as how often to change the oil in vehicles.

Since then, the city has hired a professional fleet maintenance manager, a safety inspector and additional mechanics. But Kelley's family has been pushing for more, specifically a public hearing on a proposal by John M. Tobin Jr., who has called for fire trucks to be replaced after 10 years in services.