, Salem, MA

November 15, 2012

Family upset over plea agreement in fatal crash case


---- — SALEM — Family members of a young man killed in a grisly drunken driving crash last June lashed out at a Salem District Court judge this afternoon, after he accepted a guilty plea from the driver in the crash.

Angelique Griffin, 25, of Salem, was ordered to serve two years of a 2 1/2 year jail term, and seven years of probation, the result of a plea agreement reached between her lawyer and the Essex County District Attorney.

She will be eligible for parole as early as next June.

Griffin was charged with motor vehicle homicide while driving drunk following the June 16 crash on Boston Street. The Chrysler PT cruiser she was driving veered over the fog line and slammed into the rear of a flatbed tow truck parked on the roadway.

Dillon Renard, 19, of Danvers, was killed almost instantly by the impact, after the back of the truck sheared through the top of the car's frame and windshield.

Both had been at a house party; Griffin told police at the time that she did not want to drive but was urged to do so because she was not as drunk as Renard.

Family members of Renard, who filled four rows in a packed Salem courthouse, were unhappy with the sentence. Cherie Rubner, Renard's mother, sobbed throughout the hearing and then yelled at Judge Michael Lauranzano as she stormed out of the courtroom, yelling vulgarities.

She said outside court that she was angry that her family's wishes, to see Griffin indicted, were not followed by prosecutors.

For more on this story, see tomorrow's Salem News.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.