MassDOT: Hi-Way Safety Systems can no longer bid on state contracts

MassDOT: Hi-Way Safety Systems can no longer bid on state contracts
(Dave Curran)

ROCKLAND — A Rockland company whose now former employee is accused of using a company vehicle while driving drunk and killing a 13-year-old girl can no longer bid on state contracts, MassDOT announced on Friday.

Hi-Way Safety Systems, a construction company, came under scrutiny after a fatal crash in Pembroke involving one of its employees, Gregory Goodsell of Marshfield, killed 13-year-old Claire Zisserson and seriously injured two others.

Goodsell is facing manslaughter and OUI charges in connection with the fatal crash on Dec. 29. Hi-Way Safety Systems has since terminated his employment, according to an attorney for the company.

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In a Jan. 2 letter to Kathy DeLong, president of Hi-Way Safety Systems Inc., MassDOT said it has revoked the company’s prequalification certification “until further notice.”

As a result, the company “will not be able to bid on new work or work as a subcontractor” on state contracts, the letter states.

"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,” MassDOT stated in its letter.

Goodsell allegedly told police he was coming from a Christmas party at his boss’s home when the crash occurred. Another Hi-Way Systems employee was found dead at a hotel in Rockland the same morning after allegedly attending the same party.

Police allege Goodsell admitted he was drunk and had used cocaine when he drove through a red light and crashed into a Subaru on Route 139, killing Claire and seriously injuring 13-year-old Kendall Zemotel. Zisserson’s mother, who was driving the Subaru, was also injured.

An attorney for Hi-Way Safety Systems issued the following statement on Friday:

An employee of Hi-Way Safety Systems, Inc. was involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident in Pembroke on the morning of December 29th. An innocent young girl was killed, another badly hurt, and an adult woman was also seriously injured. The shock and sadness the families of these victims are experiencing is unimaginable. It is impossible to adequately express the sorrow felt for their tragic loss. The employee involved in the motor vehicle crash violated multiple company policies, including the repeated unauthorized use of a company vehicle for personal use during non-work hours on the evening of December 28th and possession of alcohol in the vehicle. Early on December 29, the employee was told by co-workers to relinquish the keys to the company vehicle. He avoided that demand and again without authorization operated the vehicle. As a result of these violations and the accident that then occurred, his employment has been terminated. This has been a terrible tragedy and a nightmare for all involved. The Company will fully cooperate with all authorities and agencies conducting investigations into the accident. That process is underway and ongoing, and during that time we will issue no further public statements.Hi-Way Safety Systems employs over 160 people and has a strong work and safety track record spanning over 40 years in Massachusetts, across New England and New York. We join the community in mourning the loss of such a young life, and in offering our deepest thoughts and support for the other victims as they recover."

Goodsell’s father, Jay Goodsell, said his son “could never imagine hurting anyone" and said he feels bad for the victim’s family.

A wake for Claire Zisserson was held on Friday.

According to her obituary, Claire was “an excellent student with a bright future” and “a gifted athlete with a passion for soccer.”

“In addition to soccer, Claire excelled at basketball, cross country, and was a rising tennis star. Singing with her friends, making videos, and playing the piano were just a few of the things she enjoyed most,” the obituary states. “The staff and students at Rising Tide School will miss her beautiful smile and sparkling eyes.”