Hi-Way Safety Systems

Police Seize Homeowner's Cellphone in Deadly Pembroke Crash Probe

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Police investigating a deadly crash that followed a holiday party last month in Pembroke, Massachusetts, have seized the cellphone of the man who threw that party, according to new court records obtained by the NBC10 Boston Investigators.

A clerk magistrate in Plymouth County authorized police last week to search the cellphone of Pembroke resident Kenneth Horn for evidence of what transpired during a late-night gathering at Horn's home in December.

As NBC10 Boston reported earlier, people who attended the party were allegedly involved in a string of violent incidents, including an alleged drunk driving crash that left a 13-year-old girl dead and another teenager seriously injured.

Separately, a 41-year-old man was found unresponsive at a hotel in Rockland and later died. Another guest was charged with disorderly conduct, and another was arrested on a drunk driving charge in Hanover, according to police.

In an affidavit attached to a search warrant application, investigators said the incidents all involved employees of Hi-Way Safety Systems, a Rockland company that provides road safety services. Horn is the company's director of operations, and his wife, Kathy Delong, is its CEO and president.

According to the affidavit, on the evening of Dec. 28, about 100 people gathered at the Knights of Columbus hall in Pembroke for a Hi-Way Safety Systems reception that lasted until about 11 p.m. After, a large group of employees went to a restaurant in Marshfield, then gathered for what police described as an "after party" at the home of Horn and Delong, according to the affidavit.

The party took place in a pool house directly behind their residence on Farmside Drive. Witnesses told police they saw excessive drinking and cocaine use at the gathering, and that cocaine was "visibly in plain sight" on a countertop, along with instruments to consume it, such as dollar bills and cards, according to the affidavit.

Horn and Delong did not respond to requests for comment this week from NBC10 Boston, and a company spokesman declined an interview.

Witnesses also described two altercations during the party. In one incident, witnesses told police an employee pushed his girlfriend to the ground, prompting others to intervene, according to the affidavit.

The employee, Francis Paiva, was later arrested by police in Hanover and charged with driving drunk with an open half-gallon container of vodka in his vehicle. Paiva, who pleaded not guilty to the charge, declined a request last week from NBC10 Boston to comment on the arrest.

In a separate incident, witnesses told police 41-year-old Joseph Amaral -- the man who later died -- got into a fight sometime before 6:30 a.m. with another Hi-Way Safety Systems employee who attended the after party. After, witnesses said, Amaral complained of not being able to breathe correctly, according to the affidavit.

Later, at a hotel in Rockland, Amaral's friend saw him bleeding from his face inside the bathroom. He told police Amaral "sounded distorted," but said he wasn't overly concerned because Amaral "just appeared to have been 'banged up from the fight,'" according to the affidavit.

An autopsy later showed Amaral had minor bruising on his scalp, but no fractures or significant trauma. The cause and manner of Amaral's death are still pending.

Also that morning, police in Pembroke were called to an intersection on Route 139 for a fatal crash involving a Hi-Way Safety Systems truck. Police say the driver of that truck, 31-year-old employee Gregory Goodsell, slammed into a Subaru, leaving 13-year-old Claire Zisserson, of Plymouth, dead, and another girl riding in the Subaru seriously injured.

Police say Goodsell, who faces nine criminal charges, including manslaughter and driving drunk, acknowledged that he was severely impaired after the 6:50 a.m. crash. He allegedly told officers, "I know I shouldn't have been driving. I can't believe I did this. I drank way too much."

Goodsell pleaded not guilty to the charges and is due to appear in court next in February.

According to police, Goodsell also told officers he drank and used cocaine at a holiday party at his boss' house in Pembroke.

When they were interviewed later that day, Horn and Delong told police that Goodsell was "drunk" and "getting loud" at the party, and that they asked him to leave his work vehicle at their house and take an Uber home.

Horn allowed police to search his pool house, where, according to court documents, investigators allegedly discovered a hole underneath the bar, with red or brown stains nearby; another hole on the north wall, between the island and bar top; and white powder on a countertop. A forensic scientist took swabs of the stains and police collected the white powder residue for further testing, according to the affidavit.

Horn initially agreed to participate in a more detailed interview at the Pembroke Police Department, but later declined, telling police his attorney advised him not to provide any statements because "civil implications could arise," according to the affidavit. Horn also declined a request from police to examine his phone, prompting officers to seize it, the affidavit states.

Hi-Way Safety Systems has been under scrutiny in the wake of the crash the other incidents involving workers who attended its holiday celebrations in December.

In its only public statement since the crash, Hi-Way Safety Systems said Goodsell, the driver charged in the Pembroke crash, was fired for violating multiple company policies, including unauthorized use of a company vehicle. The company said coworkers tried to take the keys away from Goodsell, but didn't provide details about where and when that encounter happened.

In an internal message to workers last week, Delong wrote that the company had arranged safe transportation options for workers on Dec. 28 and Dec. 29, such as taxis and ride-share services. Goodsell "both refused an arranged ride and refused to surrender keys to the vehicle he used without authorization," she wrote.

In the same message, Delong also announced new safety policies for the company, including drug testing for workers and a zero-tolerance policy for employees convicted of drunk or drugged driving.

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, making it ineligible to bid on new projects.

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