Mother of Crash Victim Wants Harsher Penalty for 90-Year-Old Driver

A 90-year-old woman has been charged with negligent homicide in connection with the crash that killed a motorcycle driver in New Haven last September, and the victim's mother is enraged that the driver got off without a felony charge.

According to New Haven police, Nancy Cassella, 90, of Bethany, was driving eastbound on Fountain Street/Route 243 when she turned onto Seneca Road, cutting off a motorcycle traveling in the opposite direction.

The motorcyclist, Brian McCarthy, 34, of North Haven, was killed in the crash.

His mother, Terri McCarthy, said he was rushed to the Yale-New Haven Hospital emergency room, where he went into surgery and was stabilized. She thought her son would pull through, but doctors told her they couldn't stop the bleeding. Brian McCarthy died at the hospital.

"It's devastating," said Terri McCarthy. "It's beyond. You can't imagine the pain of losing your child. You can't even imagine it."

Cassella was arrested and charged with negligent homicide and making an improper turn, which Terri McCarthy said was far too lenient a punishment.

"I thought it was a felony," she said. "I mean, she killed my son with her motor vehicle. ... You took a father of three small children, my only child. And a misdemeanor – isn't that like a traffic ticket? Seriously?"

Terri McCarthy said Cassella should not have been behind the wheel that day.

"I know she's a 90-year-old woman. So you don't want her to go to jail because she's 90 years old," Terri McCarthy said. "Well, if she's too old to go to jail, she was too old to drive."

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