Double fatality victims identified as Edward D. and Brittany D. McGrath; possible crash cause cited in court records
James W. Ainsworth appears in court in August, 2014. Purchase photo reprints »
James Walter Ainsworth in Northampton District Court Friday with his court-appointed attorney, Alan Rubin of the Committee for Public Counsel Services. He has been charged in connection with a crash that killed two people in Easthampton.
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Christina Rose Dunlap, in Northampton District Court Friday, was a passenger in the SUV that struck two people on a motorcycle, killing both. Purchase photo reprints »
Easthampton Fire Chief David Mottor, center, with Easthampton Policemen William Kelly, left, and Capt. Robert Alberti, work the scene of a double-fatal accident Thursday afternoon involving a motorcycle and a SUV on Route 5 near the Easthampton and Holyoke city line. Purchase photo reprints »
Easthampton Police Capt. Robert Alberti, center left, Easthampton Fire Chief David Mottor, center right, and others work the scene of a double-fatal accident Thursday involving a motorcycle and a SUV on Route 5 near the Holyoke city line. Purchase photo reprints »
Christina Rose Dunlap, passenger in the SUV that hit a motorcycle resulting in a double homicide, in Northampton District Court Friday. She had just learned that her four children had been removed by the state from the hotel they had been living. Purchase photo reprints »
Christine Rose Dunlap and James Walter Ainsworth appeared in Northampton District Court Friday to face charges stemming from a crash that killed Edward and Brittany McGrath Thursday. Purchase photo reprints »
Christina Rose Dunlap in Northampton District Court facing charges stemming from the crash that killed a father-daughter pair in Easthampton Thursday Purchase photo reprints »
Christina Rose Dunlap with her attorney John Drake in Northampton District Court Friday. Next to Dunlap is court officer Daniel Sadlowksi. Purchase photo reprints »
Christina Rose Dunlap was a passenger in the SUV that police say crashed into a motorcycle Thursday, killing two people. Purchase photo reprints »
EASTHAMPTON —The victims of the double fatality on Route 5 in Easthampton have been identified as Edward D. and Brittany D. McGrath, according to documents in Northampton District Court, where a judge Friday ordered the driver facing charges in connection with crash held on $100,000 bail.
Assistant District Attorney Steven E. Gagne said in court that the victims were a 62-year-old father and his 29-year-old daughter. Easthampton Police said Edward McGrath lived in Holyoke and his daughter lived in Brooklyn, New York.
James Walter Ainsworth, 45, of Greenfield, the driver of the SUV that police say crashed into a motorcycle around 3:30 p.m. Thursday on Route 5, denied related charges in court Friday morning. Ainsworth had been arrested Thursday on two counts of felony motor vehicle homicide under the influence of drugs, operating under the influence of drugs, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, possession of Class A drug and operating with a suspended license.
According to court records, a witness told police that at the time of the crash, Ainsworth appeared to have his eyes closed and his head was leaning against the driver's side window like he was sleeping.
Also expected to be arraigned is Christina Rose Dunlap, 27, of Greenfield, a passenger in the SUV, on charges of possession of a Class A drug and being a fugitive from justice.
According to the Northwestern district attorney’s office, Easthampton police placed Ainsworth in custody Thursday night at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, where he was being treated for non-life-threatening injuries sustained in the crash.
The motorcycle was heading north on Route 5 when it was struck by a southbound SUV that veered into the opposite lane for unknown reasons just past East Street near the Holyoke line, according to Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Steven E. Gagne.
Easthampton Police Chief Bruce W. McMahon said that at least one of the two people in the SUV was taken by ambulance to Holyoke Medical Center. “As far as their condition, I don’t know,” McMahon said at the accident scene.
McMahon said that both victims on the motorcycle were wearing helmets and were thrown off the bike when the Toyota SUV struck them. After striking the motorcycle, the SUV drove off the road and ended up near the railroad tracks on the east side of Route 5.
While the damaged motorcycle lay in the northbound breakdown lane, the SUV could not be seen from beyond the caution tape perimeter that police set up at Fat Trax Snowboard Shop near East Street. An Easthampton fire truck also partially blocked the scene from view.
The crash prompted the closing of Route 5 from East Street in Easthampton into Holyoke. The road reopened at 8 p.m.
Rebecca Everett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.