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February 2, 2013

No jail time for Yale student in fatal accident

The Yale University student who struck and killed Salem resident Nancy Barry before a 2011 Harvard-Yale football game received a special form of probation yesterday that will leave him with no criminal record.

Brendan Ross, of O’Fallon, Mo., will serve 400 hours of community service but no jail time. He was granted accelerated rehabilitation in New Haven, Conn., Superior Court yesterday, a program for first-time offenders whose charges are dismissed if they successfully complete probation.

Police say Ross was driving a rental truck carrying beer kegs through a popular tailgating area before the Harvard-Yale game when witnesses saw the vehicle turn a corner and speed up, striking three women.

Barry, a 30 year-old Salem native, was killed.

Ross, 22, pleaded guilty to two infractions: traveling too fast and unsafe starting. He had been charged with negligent homicide with a motor vehicle and reckless driving, but prosecutors agreed to change the charges to reckless driving and reckless endangerment so that he would be eligible for the program.

Ross passed a field sobriety test after the collision and police said he was cooperative in the investigation. He did not comment in court other than to answer the judge’s questions and enter a plea for the infractions.

Attorneys said Barry’s family and the other victims agreed with the resolution of the case.

Barry’s mother, Paula St. Pierre of Salem, could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Ross’ attorney, William Dow III, said yesterday his client is grateful for the compassion shown by Barry’s family and the other accident victims.

“Brendan Ross is an outstanding young man who was involved in a tragic accident,” Dow said in a statement. “He will emerge from this without a criminal record, but the memory of that tragedy remains. Brendan and his family have extended their condolences to Ms. Barry’s family when the accident occurred. Ms. Barry remains in their prayers.”

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