When Attorney Peter Marano faced the media after his client Dylan Etheridge’s arraignment last Monday, he began a narrative outside East Boston District Court that the victim’s family has taken issue with.
Ethridge, 22, of East Boston was arraigned on charges of motor vehicle homicide, leaving the scene of personal injury, and leaving the scene of property damage in connection with the death of Amber Pelletier. Pelletier was killed when the car Etheridge who was allegedly driving at a high rate of speed hit some parked cars and then flipped over before coming to a stop on the median strip near Orient Heights MBTA station. The crash killed Pelletier instantly and injured a second passanged, Ava Salvi, of East Boston.
However, Marano told reporters outside the court that his client had ‘grown up’ with Pelletier and Salvi and the three were ‘friends’.
“These are people who are friends, and frankly, that in and of itself, is devastating to all the families, because now, not just to my client’s family, but the family of the deceased, the family of the other person in the car, nothing is ever going to be the same,” Marano said outside court last Monday.
However, Pelletier was from Rhode Island, and according to a timeline of events did not meet Salvi until the two started attending St. Leo University in Florida three years ago. Family and friends have posted criticism of Marano’s statements and maintain while Pelletier and Salvi became very close friends since attending college together, they question if Pelletier even knew Etheridge prior to last week’s car crash. It is more likely that Salvi and Ethridge, who both grew up in Eastie, were friends or acquaintances prior to the fatal accident. Sources who knew both Etheridge and Salvi said Pelletier was in Eastie visiting Salvi for the weekend after completing their junior year at St. Leo.
Judge Roberto Ronquillo set bail in the amount of $1,000 and ordered Etheridge to wear a GPS monitor and remain alcohol-free.
Prosecutors allege that Etheridge was operating a gray Mazda on Bennington Street at a high rate of speed immediately prior to the crash at approximately 1:10 a.m. Sunday, May 5. The vehicle struck several parked vehicles and a cement planter on the roadway center median before coming to a rest on its roof.
One passenger, later identified as Pelletier, suffered fatal injuries in the crash and was pronounced dead at the scene. According to reports, Salvi was seriously injured, but is expected to survive.
According to the District Attorney’s Office, Etheridge allegedly left the scene on foot and was nowhere to be found when police arrived. His attorney Peter Marano said his client went to go seek help. However, the prosecution wasn’t buying that and told the court there was no indication he went to go seek help.
Etheridge reportedly went to a friend’s house after the crash and later checked himself into Mass. General Hospital were police finally caught up with him.
Etheridge will return to court on June 14.
Back in Rhode Island Pelletier’s family held a wake and funeral for their loved one last Thursday and Friday.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help Pelletier’s family pay for the funeral expenses. Anyone wishing to contribute to the effort please visit www.gofundme.com/f/amber-pelletier.