Massachusetts man gets 3 years probation in death of friend

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts man has been sentenced to three years of probation after acknowledging he drove drunk in a parking lot in April the night a friend fell off the trunk of his car and suffered injuries that led to his death.

According to the Northwestern district attorney’s office, Zachary Laviolette, 27, pleaded guilty to motor vehicle homicide while operating under the influence of alcohol in relation to the death of Matthew Kolb, 24, the Daily Hampshire Gazette reported.

Laviolette, of Easthampton, told the responding officers on April 23 that Kolb, himself, and another person had been drinking in a parking lot after work.

According to a police report, Kolb was sitting on the trunk of the car being driven by Laviolette when the car hit a bump that caused him to fall and hit his head. Kolb was transported to the hospital and died May 1 from the injures.

According to the district attorney’s office, in addition to probation Laviolette's sentence includes an alcohol monitoring device that will be tested twice a day, 100 hours of community service, a 15-year loss of license, and other stipulations.

According to Laviolette’s lawyer, Alfred Chamberland, Laviolette’s charge was reduced from a felony with a mandatory minimum jail sentence of one year to a misdemeanor with no mandatory jail sentence after “extensive discussions and negotiations” with prosecutors.

Kevin Kolb, the victim’s father, told the Daily Hampshire Gazette by phone that the family did not want to see prison time and that all who were involved were friends.

“Not only do we thank the judge and the attorneys, we thank Zach, as well, for pleading guilty and accepting his responsibility,” Kevin Kolb said. “It’s been a tough year.”