NEWBURYPORT — The mother of a Newburyport man who was killed when a drunken driver traveling more than 100 mph slammed into the rear of her son's broken-down car on I-95 in Boxford, has filed a wrongful death suit against that driver.
Nathaniel R. Armstrong, 26, is currently serving a six- to-10-year state prison term for causing the death of Geoffrey Stevens, 45, early on the evening of Sept. 10, 2016.
The civil lawsuit, seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages for Stevens' death, was filed on Thursday in Lawrence Superior Court on behalf of Stevens' mother, Patricia.
During a hearing prior to Armstrong's guilty plea in the criminal case two years ago, prosecutors said Stevens had just purchased a new car to replace his 14-year-old Saturn and was waiting to take delivery on it, when the old car broke down on I-95.
Stevens pulled into the breakdown lane, far enough over that his car was partly on the grass next to the highway, a prosecutor said.
Meanwhile, Armstrong, a former Peabody man who was living in Amesbury at the time, was returning from a day of golfing and drinking. He had a blood alcohol level of .12 and in the second before impact, was driving at 102 mph, a prosecutor said during a sentencing conference.
Other drivers had reported seeing Armstrong speeding north on the highway, at times passing cars in the breakdown lane. It was as he attempted to pass another vehicle in the breakdown lane that he crashed his Chevrolet Impala into the rear of Stevens' Saturn.
During the hearing, a tearful Armstrong apologized for his actions that afternoon, telling the family, "I never wanted to hurt anybody."
Armstrong is currently serving his sentence at the Old Colony Correctional Facility in Bridgewater.
The lawyer who filed the suit, Paolo Corso, did not immediately return a message.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.