A police photograph contained in court documents released on Monday shows the Subaru Forester that Meredith Nilan was driving on Dec. 8 when, police say, she struck a Pittsfield man on Winesap Road. In a ruling made public on Monday, a judge determined that Nilan should face charges of driving to endanger and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident.

Posted:02/13/2012 12:25:37 PM EST
Updated:02/13/2012 12:37:26 PM EST

By Andrew Amelinckx, Berkshire Eagle Staff
Monday February 13, 2012

PITTSFIELD -- A Springfield District Court judge has found probablecause to bring criminal charges against Meredith Nilan for a Decemberaccident that left a local man seriously injured.

Judge William P. Hadley, after reviewing the case against the24-year-old Pittsfield woman, found that "while much of what is allegedhere is circumstantial," there was enough evidence to allow thePittsfield Police to charge the 24-year-old with two misdemeanors:leaving the scene of a personal injury accident and negligent operationof a motor vehicle.

Nilan will be arraigned Feb. 29 in Central Berkshire DistrictCourt. Nilan is the daughter of Clifford Nilan, the chief of probationat Berkshire Superior Court.

A police photograph contained in court documents released on Monday shows the Subaru Forester that Meredith Nilan was driving on Dec. 8 when, police say, she struck a Pittsfield man on Winesap Road. In a ruling made public on Monday, a judge determined that Nilan should face charges of driving to endanger and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident.

Meredith Nilan was driving her father's car the evening of Dec. 8when she struck 45-year-old Peter Moore on Winesap Road as he walked hisdog, according to police.

Moore, of McIntosh Drive, suffered several injuries, including amild traumatic brain injury, a broken neck, a bruised colon, and afractured calf bone. He is recovering from his injuries, but has had toundergo surgery on his neck.

Meredith Nilan's attorney, Timothy Shugrue, said she wasn't surewhat she had struck and searched the area twice, once alone and laterwith her father. She found no evidence of what she hit, Shugrue said.

Pittsfield Police filed an application for a criminal complaintthat led to a show-cause hearing last month to determine whether therewas enough evidence to criminally charge Meredith Nilan.

A 2 1/2 hour private hearing was held on Jan. 12 in CentralBerkshire District Court before Westfield Clerk Magistrate Nathan A.Byrnes. Byrnes determined there was "no probable cause" to chargeMeredith Nilan with the two misdemeanors sought by police.

The Pittsfield Police appealed the clerk magistrate's decision.Hadley, in his decision, stated that the police "manifested seriousdissatisfaction with the magistrate's decision."

Hadley went on to cite a 2002 case concerning the "low threshold"needed to prove reasonable cause, comparing it to the same standard apolice officer would use in making an arrest.

Moore's attorney, Michael R. Hinkley, told The Eagle that he wasnot allowed to attend the show-cause hearing, and couldn't getinformation about what happened.

The judge's ruling was dated Friday, and it was released publicly on Monday morning.<<<<<


View the Springfield District Court judge's decision here:

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