13-year-old Pembroke crash victim identified, driver charged with manslaughter OUI

PEMBROKE, Mass. — Boston 25 News has learned that 13-year-old Claire Zisserson was killed in a crash in Pembroke that critically injured two others, as a 31-year-old Marshfield man faces manslaughter and other OUI charges in connection with the teen’s death.

Gregory Goodsell was held without bail after his arraignment Monday.

He pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter OUI, two counts of OUI liquor causing serious injury, possessing an open alcohol container in a motor vehicle, negligent driving, speeding, marked lanes violation, failure to stop or yield at a signal, and improper passing. A dangerousness hearing is set for Jan. 3.

The accident happened on Route 139 just before 7 a.m. on Sunday at Church and Oak Street.

Another 13-year-old girl, identified as Kendall Zemotel, and a 50-year-old woman are in critical condition, according to Plymouth County District Attorney Tim Cruz.

While Zemotel remains hospitalized, Plymouth Selectwoman Betty Cavacco has set up a GoFundMe account to help the victim and her family.

Goodsell, an employee of Hi-Way Safety Systems of Rockland, which is a MassDOT contractor, told police he was coming from a company Christmas party at his boss’s home when the crash occurred. He was arrested on scene and sent to South Shore Hospital for evaluation.

“It was an incredibly gruesome scene, and when you look at the remnants. And the worst thing of all is it was 100 percent avoidable,” Cruz said.

Pembroke Police Chief Richard Well said he broke the devastating news to the victim’s family.

“I spoke with the family this morning and I can’t even imagine what they have to go through,” Well said.

A GoFundMe account has been set up for the Zisserson family.

According to court documents, the three females were in a Subaru that sustained heavy damage to the passenger side, while Goodsell drove a Ford truck that had heavy front-end damage.

Court documents show that Goodsell was slurring his speech, had glassy, blood-shot eyes, and smelled of alcohol when an officer arrived. He allegedly told police, “I know I shouldn’t have been driving...I can’t believe I did this...I drank way too much, I’m so sorry,” according to documents. He also admitted to using cocaine on Saturday night and into the early morning before driving.

He was placed under arrest and, unable to walk on his own, was assisted to the police cruiser, according to documents.

Witnesses said they saw Goodsell driving at a high speed, passing cars, driving through red lights and swerving. One witness said they saw Goodsell "traveling at the speed of lightning."

A half-empty bottle of Jameson whiskey was found on the rear seat of Goodsell’s truck, along with an empty beer can, according to documents.

Boston 25 News reached out to MassDOT, who told us Hi-Way Safety Systems is used as “both a prime and a subcontractor on a number of active MassDOT contracts predominately providing signage, pavement markings, and traffic control.”

A MassDOT spokesperson told us "We are saddened by this tragic incident and our thoughts are with the family and friends of the victim. MassDOT is extremely disappointed to learn of the circumstances surrounding this incident. We require that all of our contractors adhere to strict standards of safety and we are conducting a review into the status of Hi-Way Safety Systems Inc. with regard to active MassDOT contracts.”

Boston 25 reached out to the company and was given the following statement from the attorney, “Our thoughts and prayers go to the family who has suffered a terrible tragedy and a tremendous loss. I will be working to gather the facts once I am available to do so. The Corporation is cooperating with, and will continue cooperating with, the authorities.”

Goodsell’s father told Boston 25 News the Hi-Way Safety company party was held at the Knights of Columbus in Pembroke Saturday night.

“He’s got a 21-month-old daughter. He’s a good kid. He just screwed up, he knows it,” said Jay Goodsell.

The district attorney said the holiday party and what was served are also under investigation.

“The crime itself at the scene of Oak and Church Street is solely the responsibility of the defendant in this matter, however, there is and there remains an ongoing investigation as to what was going on prior to that time at the party that was held in our county prior to that time,” said Cruz.

Sources told Boston 25 that police are also investigating the death of a male who attended the same party as Gregory Goodsell.

An attorney for the Hi-Way Safety company confirmed Monday night that the company is also looking into the death of an employee at a Rockland motel.

Rockland police on Tuesday released a statement that they are investigating the death of a 41-year-old Rockland man who was found unresponsive Sunday at a Comfort Inn motel on Hingham Street. The man, identified as Joseph Amaral, of Rockland, was found just before 8 a.m. and transported to the hospital where he later died, the statement said. Amaral’s cause of death will be determined by the State medical examiner.

When asked earlier Monday about whether or not there had been a second death connected to the party separate from the crash, Cruz said: “I’m not in a position to confirm that as of yet, but like I said, there are a number of things that were going on as I understand it. There are a number of things we’re investigating right now."

Boston 25 News has learned the RMV has suspended Goodsell’s license indefinitely as an “immediate threat.” According to his driving record, he’s been cited three times for speeding and for two other crashes since 2006.

Goodsell is being held without bail until a dangerousness hearing Friday.

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