NEWBURYPORT — A Gloucester man facing upgraded charges following the death of an elderly Rockport man after a Thanksgiving night crash on Route 128 in Wenham was released from custody Tuesday, after a hearing on whether he poses a danger to the public. 

Michael Maroney, 58, of 29 Hodgkins St., Gloucester, was initially charged in late November with drunken driving, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, driving to endanger, and other moving violations. He was free on $10,000 bail and under house arrest except to work.

But upon the death of Jerolomo "Jerry" Curcio, 77, of injuries from the crash, charges against Maroney were upgraded and a warrant issued for his arrest on upgraded charges that include motor vehicle manslaughter, motor vehicle homicide while driving to endanger, motor vehicle homicide while driving drunk and driving recklessly to endanger, death resulting. 

Maroney appeared at Ipswich District Court, which sits in the same courthouse as Newburyport District Court, on Friday with his attorney to answer to the charges. A plea of not guilty was entered Friday, according to the docket, and he was taken into custody pending Tuesday's hearing. 

Curcio's wife, Mary Curcio, 76, suffered serious injuries but is expected to survive.

Carrie Kimball, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, said on Friday that the four charges represent different legal theories of the case.

The Curcios were in a 2009 Honda Civic traveling on Route 128 on Thanksgiving night when they were struck from behind by a Ford Mustang allegedly driven by Maroney.

Witnesses estimated the Mustang was going at least 100 mph before the crash, which occurred near exit 17 northbound, the exit for Grapevine Road, in Wenham.

Maroney was held over the weekend and on Monday without bail, a status that prosecutor Michelle Belmonte asked Judge Allen Swan to maintain, arguing that the "dramatic change in circumstances" warranted pre-trial detention. 

"He should be held without bail," Belmonte said. 

Belmonte added that if Swan was against holding Maroney in custody while awaiting trial, the judge should alter Maroney's release conditions so that he must stay in his home "24/7." 

"The defendant is incredibly dangerous to the public," Belmonte said.

Maroney's attorney, who waived a full hearing and agreed to stipulate that Maroney posed a danger, argued that while circumstances have changed since Maroney's initial arraignment, the facts of the case remained the same. He asked Swan not to detain his client. 

Swan agreed not to jail Maroney, instead restoring the $10,000 bail originally set last fall shortly after the crash, but followed Belmonte's request and ordered Maroney to remain at home around the clock. 

He will be required to remain alcohol free, monitored by a device that requires him to submit breath samples at various times during the day. 

Maroney is due back in court on Feb. 7 for a probable cause hearing. By that time, Maroney could be indicted by an Essex County grand jury, which would move his case to Salem Superior Court. 

Staff writer Julie Manganis contributed to this report.

Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached by email at drogers@salemnews.com. Follow him on Twitter: @drogers41008.

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