The Massachusetts company under fire after one of its workers died at a Rockland motel and another was charged in a fatal car crash in Pembroke had two other employees taken into custody the morning after its company party.
Hi-Way Safety Systems, of Rockland, has faced mounting scrutiny over a string of events involving its workers that left two people dead and at least two others injured on the morning of Dec. 29.
Those events included a fatal 6:50 a.m. crash in Pembroke involving a Hi-Way Safety Systems truck driven by 31-year-old Gregory Goodsell. Goodsell allegedly acknowledged to police that he was intoxicated and admitted to having taken cocaine at the company Christmas party he was coming from, prosecutors said in court.
Separately, a 41-year-old Hi-Way Safety Systems employee who attended a company party died after he was found struggling to breathe around 7:50 a.m. at the Comfort Inn in Rockland. His cause of death has yet to be determined.
As police continue to probe the two incidents, court records obtained by the NBC10 Boston Investigators this week show police on the South Shore arrested two other Hi-Way Safety Systems employees around the same time.
In Hanover, officers were called to Elm Street around 3:20 a.m. Dec. 29 for a report of a man and a woman arguing on the side of the road. Officers found the couple outside a Nissan Altima that was parked with its headlights on and the engine still running.
The driver, identified by police as Francis V. Paiva III, was slurring his speech and had glassy, bloodshot eyes and a "strong odor of alcohol" on his breath, according to police records. Those records identify Paiva as a “Highway Safety“ employee.
"He stated that he had just left a work party in Pembroke, where he got into a physical fight with two male parties to whom he did not know," a police report reads. "He stated that they made some comments to his girlfriend which escalated into a fight."
More Coverage of the Pembroke OUI Crash
Paiva's partner "confirmed the story that they were at a work party and a fight occurred in Pembroke," according to police. She said Paiva had been driving the Nissan, and that they had pulled over to wait for his mother to come and drive the vehicle home.
Paiva denied that he was driving the Nissan, though officers allegedly found the key fob for the vehicle in his coat pocket.
Paiva allegedly failed field sobriety tests and refused to take a breath test. He was arrested and booked at the Hanover police station that morning on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and driving with an open container.
Police allegedly found a half-gallon bottle of Tito's vodka on the floor of the car, in front of the passenger seat, according to police records.
Paiva pleaded not guilty to the charges at his arraignment. Efforts to reach his court-appointed lawyer were unsuccessful. Paiva declined to comment on the arrest during a brief phone call.
Also on the morning of Dec. 29, officers investigating the medical emergency at the Comfort Inn in Rockland arrested a Hi-Way Safety Systems employee who was staying at the same hotel on charges of disorderly conduct after he allegedly raised his voice and refused to answer questions from police.
Rockland Police Officer Steven Kimball wrote that he found an unresponsive male inside room 335 and tried unsuccessfully to revive him using Narcan and CPR. The man, 41-year-old Joseph Amaral, had blood in his mouth and bruises on his forehead, according to Kimball's report.
Police began interviewing other hotel guests, and Kimball knocked on the door of room 327, which was occupied by 31-year-old Omer Calderon, according to his report. Calderon, of Flushing, New York, smelled of alcohol and "appeared to be intoxicated," according to the report.
Calderon told the officer that he and Amaral were at a Hi-Way Safety Systems Christmas party and a fight broke out, but refused to provide additional information, according to the report. Police arrested him and charged him with disorderly conduct after he raised his voice and refused to sit down on the bed of his hotel room, according to the report.
Calderon also entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment last week. He did not respond to a phone call Tuesday seeking comment.
Hi-Way Safety Systems declined Tuesday through a spokesperson to comment on the arrests. In a statement issued last week regarding the Pembroke crash, the business said the alleged drunk driver, Goodsell, violated multiple company policies and has since been fired.
Goodsell has pleaded not guilty to nine charges, including manslaughter and drunken driving, in connection to the deadly crash. He is scheduled to return to court on Feb. 10 for a probable cause hearing.
Hi-Way Safety Systems has been a contractor and subcontractor on state road construction projects, but in the wake of the crash, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation said it revoked the company's prequalification status.
Based in Rockland, the company provides a range of pavement marking, road safety and traffic control services for private contractors and local, state and federal agencies, according to its website.
Any project valued higher than $50,000 requires a contractor to be prequalified, according to MassDOT.
"Based on recent media reports, MassDOT has serious concerns with the current management structure of Hi-Way Safety Systems, Inc. and its ability to make responsible decisions concerning the conduct of its managers and employees," Isidoro DeJesus Perez, the department's prequalification director, wrote in the letter to the company.