After months of waiting to see the man responsible for the death of a 14-year-old boy face charges, the family of James Ward Jr. got good news.
Late Friday afternoon the Plymouth County District Attorney’s office announced Christopher T. Kelly, 40, of Stoughton has been charged with negligent operating of a recreational vehicle that resulted in the death of James Ward.
“This is what we’ve fought for, we are glad our voices are being heard,” said Rhonda Ray, aunt of the victim.
In December Kelly was charged with the misdemeanor offense of leaving the scene of a crash with personal injury. The family grew anxious as time passed, wondering if Kelly would ever see a stiffer charge.
The family planned to picket the court on Monday when Kelly is arraigned. “We want justice for James,” said Ray. “We want to make sure the charges stick.”
Ray said Kelly’s dirt bike slammed into her nephew while he was riding in the woods off Route 44 in Plymouth with his 11-year-old brother and father. Kelly promised to meet medical personnel and lead them to the boy, but instead took off and hid his motorcycle under a tarp at a friend’s house, Ray said.
While Kelly was stashing his bike, James Ward died in his father’s arms. After the fatal crash, the Registry of Motor Vehicles found Kelly was an immediate threat to the public and suspended his license for the 25th time. According to Kelly’s driving record, his license had been suspended or revoked 24 times before the crash for a wide range of violations, including failure to stop for a pedestrian, speeding and driving on a suspended license.
Kelly’s 12-page record of driving violations comes as no surprise to Ray, but she was shocked to learn the number of times his license has been suspended and says he should never drive again.
Kelly defended himself, saying the majority of the charges stem from when he was a teenager with a race car. Since he’s become a father Kelly says he hasn’t had any violations and
believes racing at the track is his only therapy to get through the horrible accident.
“He’s shown no remorse,” said Ray, who believes Kelly is trying to paint himself as the victim.
Kelly says he understands how the family feels, “The want me dead, I understand that.”