Articles

Community Advocate - Jul 09, 2021

SJL Memorial Ride to return on Marlborough roads and beyond

By Ed Karvoski Jr.
Contributing Writer

George Larassa holds a photo of his daughter Shawna while speaking to participants of the seventh annual Shawna Jean Larassa Memorial Ride in 2016 at the Marlborough Moose Family Center 1129.

MARLBOROUGH – After a four-year hiatus, the Shawna Jean Larassa (SJL) Memorial Ride will return Saturday, Aug 14.

The motorcycle ride, benefiting the SJL Memorial Scholarship Fund, is once again beginning and ending at the Marlborough Moose Family Center 1129.

George Larassa of Marlborough established the scholarship fund in memory of his daughter Shawna. She died from a vehicle accident at age 19 in 2009. At the time, Shawna had completed her freshman year at Johnson & Wales, where she majored in business and criminal justice.

“When Shawna went to college, she worked really hard to get her scholarship,” Larassa noted. “I started this scholarship fund in honor of her and to help people who need it.”

The SJL Ride took place annually for seven years from 2010 to 2016.

“I needed some time for myself for personal reasons,” Larassa said of the hiatus. “Now I’m back again in full swing.”

Continuing efforts during hiatus

A motorcyclist himself, Larassa participates in other fundraising rides. His support continued during SJL Ride’s hiatus.

“I go to rides to support other charities, and they, in turn, support Shawna’s ride,” he noted.

During the hiatus, he also continued presenting scholarships.

In 2017, in Marlborough Rotary Club’s annual Turkey Shoot, high school students could enter a drawning to win an SJL memorial scholarship.

Larassa also awards scholarships in less public settings. While dining at a restaurant, he learned from his server that she was working overtime to cover college debt.

“I was able to hand her a check to help pay for her expenses,” he relayed. “I carry a check with me at all times and get to surprise people. To see the look on their faces is truly amazing.”

Event’s tradition returns

A tradition of the SJL Ride is a new route each year. 2021’s route goes from Marlborough to seven other communties. The communties in order are Hudson, Bolton, Lancaster, Sterling, Lunenburg, through Lancaster again, Clinton, Berlin, back to Hudson and returning to Marlborough.

Travel time for the approximately 55-mile route is about an hour and 45 minutes.

Other supporters can join the motorcyclists and passengers for post-ride activities at the Marlborough Moose.

There, another returning tradition is a butterly release.

“Shawna loved butterflies,” Larassa shared. “When Shawna was a little girl, her grandmother got her caterpillars. They’d watch the caterpillars morph into butterflies.”

Offering food, raffles and music

A post-ride lunch includes hamburgers and hot dogs along with vegetable and fruit salads. An ice cream truck from Trombetta’s farm will be onsite.

“Kids 12 and under will get a free ice cream,” Larassa added.

Among raffle prizes are a Bose sound system, a motorized bicycle, and game tickets for the Boston Red Sox, New England Patriots, and WooSox.

The Marlborough-based band Flashback is the musical entertainment. Their repertoire features classic rock-‘n’-roll oldies along with Motown and country hits.

Receiving community support

The SJL Ride and activities consistently attract hundreds of motorcyclists, passengers and other supporters of all ages.

“It has gotten bigger and bigger every year,” Larassa said of the event. “I’m hoping that the turnout is as big as it has been in the past, so I can continue giving out scholarships.”

Breakfast is available when registration starts at 8 a.m. The ride begins at 11 a.m. Donations are $20 for riders, $10 for passengers and others for the post-ride activities.

Find updates on the Facebook event page “SJL RIDE 2021”.

Metrowest Daily News - Aug 23, 2014 Community Advocate - Aug 14, 2013

Marlborough—Almost 300 bikers revved their motorcycles and then rode out of the Marlboro Moose Family Center 1129 parking lot Aug. 10 for the 2013 SJL Memorial Scholarship Fund Motorcycle Ride. The fundraiser is an annual event to honor the life of Shawna Jean Larassa, who was tragically killed in a car accident in 2009 at age 19. The ride has been hosted annually by her father, George Larassa, as a way to raise money so that students, both adults and children, can afford an education.

“Her name has gotten out there as synonymous with helping and with people being able to go to school and having opportunity,” Larassa said.

He noted that Shawna loved school, and she had just completed her first year at Johnson and Wales University where she had studied criminal justice.

At the event, there was plenty for attendees to do. Prior to the kickoff, hundreds watched Larassa unveil a motorcycle that had been painted for him as a tribute to his daughter. He then led the procession of riders.

In addition to the ride, the event included vendors, music, and dinner. There was also a butterfly release after the event to honor Shawna, Larassa said, because she loved them.

“People will open them up, and the butterflies will come out of a piece of paper,” he said. “They will flutter away. It signifies beauty. Nobody ever really gets to chase a butterfly or hold one. People get this chance to play with a butterfly. Shawna used to love them going through the metamorphosis, from a caterpillar to a butterfly. She just absolutely loved it.”

Participants could also buy raffle tickets for a 1986 Ford Mustang convertible, which will be awarded at a later date. Larassa also holds other fundraisers during the year, such as a community night for senior citizens.

During the event, Larassa also showed off “The Red Fury,” his father’s car that he had been working on for seven years. It had been intended as a gift for his daughter, he noted.

“A lot of heartache went into that car,” he said. “I promised it to Shawna all her life.” “We got it all pulled together, and it’s here today,” he added.

Middlesex News - Aug 2012

MARLBOROUGH —

About 150 motorcycle riders came out Saturday for the Shawna Jean Larassa Memorial Scholarship Fund Motorcyle Ride in Marlborough. The 55-mile ride is a fundraiser for scholarship assistance and is named for Shawna Jean Larassa, 19, who died in a car crash in 2009. Shawna Jean Larassa loved butterflies, according to her father George Larassa of Marlborough, and supporters bought and customized about 80 paper butterflies before the ride. About the same number of live butterflies were released before the start of the ride.

Read more: http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/x1843771417/PHOTOS-Riding-for-a-reason-in-Marlborough#ixzz245995GQs

Main Street Journal - Sep 2010

Overwhelming attendance for CSF ride

Larassa connection turned event into a blockbuster

Posted September 3, 2010

By Jim Ash
Publisher

A few years ago, Deb Giroux had an idea, a dream of sorts, about an event that could raise money for local scholarships. More recently, George Larassa had a different dream, a hope to create something that would serve as a suitable remembrance of his late daughter’s life. Last Saturday, both Giroux and Larassa saw their dreams come true.

Giroux is a longtime volunteer for Citizens Scholarship Foundation (CSF) of Marlborough. The twenty-year-old organization provides scholarships for students who live in Marlborough. Three years ago, Giroux proposed the idea of a combination motorcycle ride and barbeque as a possible late summer/early fall fundraiser. She hoped to attract about 100 riders.

The first CSF Motorcycle Ride was in 2007 and 47 cyclists participated. In the two years that followed, attendance was about the same and CSF raised roughly in the range of $1,500 to $2,000 per year. Larassa entered the picture this year and the event may never again be the same.

An estimated 350-plus motorcycles registered for last weekend’s ride that raised in excess of $20,000. So overwhelming was the turnout, well beyond anyone’s wildest expectations, volunteers actually lost count of the participants. Larassa estimates the count was close to 375 cycles. Giroux said about 600 people attended, including many who only came for the post race barbeque.

Larassa, who owns GL Automotive on Mechanic Street, suffered a tragedy last year when his only daughter, Shawna Jean, died in a car accident at the age of 19. Since then, he established the Shawna Jean Larassa Memorial Scholarship Fund, Inc. to honor her memory.

Interviewed by the Journal this week, Larassa recalled talking to Giroux and CSF co-president Stephen LeDuc about working together on this year’s CSF Motorcycle Ride, with the proceeds to be split between CSF and Shawna’s fund. That talked led to a series of developments that transformed a modest size fundraiser into a blockbuster event.

Larassa credited the Facebook network and the local media for helping to get the word out, but in all likelihood, it was the brotherhood relationship that bikers share with each other that led to the huge turnout.

Several biker organizations promoted the event on their web sites. Most notably, bostonbiker.com was on board early and once the event was posted on that site, Larassa felt like word seemed to spread everywhere.

The 90-minute ride began at 11:00 AM last Saturday from the Moose Lodge on Fitchburg Street in Marlborough, and continued through nine other communities including, in order, Southborough, Hopkinton, Westborough, Northborough, Boylston, West Boylston, Clinton, Berlin and Hudson. The parade of bikers, shown in picture below while passing Marlboro Airport, seemed to string along forever and took at least ten minutes to pass any given spot.

(Picture) Motorcycles passing Airport

For awhile, Larassa led the procession but soon discovered a problem. He had been so busy preparing for the event on Friday, he forgot to fill up with gas. He had to stop to get fuel in Southborough and was never able to get back to the front of the pack.

After a couple of detours that did not connect him with the front of the procession, he eventually settled in the back and later dropped out altogether in Berlin to assist a cyclist whose bike had broken down.

Nonetheless, Larassa eventually made it back to the Moose Lodge where a huge feast was awaiting everyone. There were all types of hot and cold food, desserts and drinks, which were, for the most part, donated by local businesses and volunteers.

While, earlier in the day, Larassa lost his spot in the procession, he would later lose something more precious – his hair – including the hair on his head and face. Prior to the event, he had come up with the idea of seeking bids from donors who might like to see him cut his very lengthy locks. The idea was simple, the top bidder would determine how his head would look and the money would be added in with the proceeds.

Up until that point, Matt Leduc had already been a generous contributor to the event. Owner of the Lazy Dog Grille downtown and the new Westender Sports Bar and Grille on Route 20 near the Northborough line, Leduc had donated a considerable amount of food, along with staff to help serve during the afternoon. He also placed the highest bid on Larassa’s hair, $1,200.

“I was completely in shock when Matt jumped the bid to $1,200,” recalled Larassa. “He had already done so much with the food.” If the additional donation was not enough, Leduc went one step further and agreed to have his own hair cut to match Larassa. The duo is shown below outside of Leduc’s Westender Sports Bar and Grille, after their hair “trimming,” with Larassa on the left. For a “before” image of Larassa, see the picture at the bottom of this page.

Danielle Bellany also got involved in the bidding, only she offered $200 for Larassa to shave his beard and moustache. After all was said and done, it appears a good time was had by all, Larassa looked decidedly different, and everyone involved was feeling ecstatic about what they had accomplished.

In total, more than 100 volunteers joined in the effort. Chief among them, according to Giroux, was event co-chair Gerianne Beane who designed the official event t-shirts, planned the route and coordinated police escorts for the bikers. “She went way above and beyond,” commented Giroux.

Other key volunteer organizers were Marilyn Snediker, Maggie Guardiani, Cindi Natoli and Stephen LeDuc. Natoli commented, “We were in shock and awe over the volumes of people. I am so looking forward to next year.”

DJ Bobby Begg, the Sunday Sinners and the Kiss Cover Band all provided entertainment free of charge. The Moose Lodge, a longtime big supporter of CSF, donated the hall. Greater Marlborough Programs donated bus service to transport people from satellite parking at nearby Assabet Tech.

Dickey Durkin and the Eagle Riders helped with a variety of the logistics. For the fourth year in a row, Brian Butka served as the “grill master.”

Joining Matt Leduc among the many generous contributors to the event were Sully’s First Edition Pub, Buffet Way, Prospector, Stephen Anthony’s, Kennedy’s, Tasty Home Cooking and Finnegan’s from Hudson.

“A special thanks goes to all the friends and restaurants who generously donated food,” said Stephen LeDuc. “Collectively this was worth thousands of dollars and was extremely valuable to an event like this.”

Shown in picture below (l-r) are Cindi Natoli, Stephen LeDuc, Deb Giroux, George Larassa, Marilyn Snediker, Maggie Guardiani and Gerianne Beane.

(Picture) Seven People

Southborough News - Aug 28, 2010

August 28, 2010 - Two different motorcycle rallies rode through Southborough just minutes apart. Above riders head south along Route 85 for the Shawna Jean Larassa Memorial Foundation take part in a fundraiser while another motorcycle group Teamster Horsemen Ride for NEADS dogs for the blind and deaf were escorted by Middlesex County Sherriffs come north on Route 85 and headed east on Southville Road. Both groups were unaffiliated with each other and it was by coincidence that their timing at Southville and Cordaville Roads were just about five minutes different.

Telegram & Gazette - Aug 2010

August 2010

Scholarship ride will be in honor of crash victim

Dudley woman died in 2009

By Scott J. Croteau TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF

(Picture) Shawna J. Larassa

Leaving so early, she had a lot of potential and it was never reached.
-- stephen leduc

MARLBORO — Shawna J. Larassa loved hopping onto the back of her father’s motorcycle, the wind whipping around her. It is only fitting that family and friends will gather in a couple of weeks as part of the Shawna Jean Larassa Memorial Scholarship and the Citizens Scholarship of Marlboro Motorcycle Ride and Cookout.

“I know that when she is looking down on this day, she will be very happy to see all these motorcycles riding,” said a longtime friend, Erica Keegan.

Ms. Larassa, 19, of Dudley died shortly before 2 a.m. July 9, 2009, in Dudley, just a few blocks from her home. She had attended a party in Charlton before the accident and her car crashed into a fence and a detached two-car garage. She died at UMass Memorial Medical Center – University Campus in Worcester.

Two friends in her car were also injured. A Charlton teenager was later charged with giving alcohol to a person under 21 on property under her control.

Recalled as a friend with a sarcastic sense of humor by two of her best friends, Ms. Larassa had completed her freshman year at Johnson & Wales University, where she was a business and criminal justice major.

Friends called the graduate of Bartlett High School in Webster a sage and a giver of solid advice.

“She had good words of wisdom and gave her solution to any problem,” said Lauren Soucy, 20, a friend since fifth grade. “I used to sleep over her house every day in the fifth (grade).”

Ms. Keegan said, “She always gave the best advice. She was always the person to go to.”

Ms. Soucy said many organizations have donated items for the raffle that is part of the ride. She also was able to read the essays of those who submitted entries for the Bartlett High School scholarship offered this year in Ms. Larassa’s name.

Around Central Massachusetts, cars can be seen with Ms. Larassa’s initials. Friends wear bracelets in her honor. More bracelets are being made for the ride.

“I miss her every day,” Ms. Keegan, 20, said. “I can’t pick up the phone and call her. It is a hard situation.”

Stephen LeDuc, co-president of the Citizens Scholarship of Marlboro, said this is the fourth motorcycle ride that raises money to give scholarships to students in financial need. On average, the scholarship awards $1,000 per person. The organization has been around 20 years. This is the first time a ride has been named in honor of someone.

“Leaving so early, she had a lot of potential and it was never reached,” Mr. LeDuc said. “We are helping further her legacy by offering scholarships in her name.”

The 42-mile ride will start in Marlboro and weave through Southboro, Hopkinton, Westboro, Northboro, Boylston, Clinton, Berlin and Hudson before ending back in Marlboro.

“I think it is definitely a way to keep her memory alive. Her mother and father are able to remember her in a positive way,” Ms. Soucy said.

The ride is Aug. 28 with a rain date of Aug. 29. Registration begins at 9:30 and lasts until 11 a.m. Kickstands go up at 11:05 a.m. There will be live music and food served.

The ride starts at the Moose Lodge on Fitchburg Street in Marlboro. Advance registration costs are $20 per ride and $10 for passenger. The day-of-the event cost is $25 for riders and $10 for passengers. Shirts are $10 for those who register ahead of time, and $15 on the day of the event.

People can mail a registration form and check to: Deb Giroux, Motorcycle Ride, 230 Evelina Drive, Marlboro, MA 01752. Checks should be made payable to CSF of Marlboro: memo Motorcycle Ride.

To get more info and/or more registration forms, contact George Larassa at GL Auto 109 Mechanic St., Marlboro; Gerianne Beane at gerianne_beane@hotmail.com; Deb Giroux at dag1973@aol.com or by phone at (508) 481-0056; or Steve LeDuc at sleduc229@gmail.com and by phone at (508) 740-8991.

Main Street Journal - Dec 2009

In the spirit of Christmas

Kindness of a stranger will brighten one man’s holiday

December 5, 2009

By Jim Ash
Publisher

The Christmas season will be difficult for George Larassa this year. He suffered every parent’s worst nightmare last July when he lost his only daughter, Shawna Jean, who died in a car accident at the age of 19. But there will be a bright spot in the Larassa home this season thanks to the generosity of a stranger.

Larassa attended the Festival of Trees over the weekend, part of the Christmas at the Farm celebration at Marlborough Historical Society’s Peter Rice Homestead.

The event has been held annually for many years, allowing people to get into the Christmas spirit while touring the Homestead, and enjoying music, warm gingerbread and hot drinks. Last year, the Festival of Trees became a part of the event.

Homestead curator Bob Kane got the idea for the festival from the Methuen Festival of Trees, a tradition which he says has netted close to $1 million since it began in 1994.

The premise of the festival involves sponsors who pay a fee to present a decorated Christmas tree that is raffled off during the event. Attendees may buy tickets which they use to enter into drawings for the tree or trees of their choice. The chosen winners receive not just the tree but all of its decorations as well.

Last year, the festival featured eighteen decorated trees. This year, there were more than forty. Each tree had a different theme, with some related to the season, like “Angels Among Us” sponsored by Christopher Heights, and others offering varying messages like the tree promoting the American Cancer Society’s “Relay for Life.”

Larassa decided to attend the event after seeing ads for it during the week. “I was intrigued to go out and check the trees,” he said, while noting that he also enjoyed the chance to tour the historic Homestead and view pictures and other historical items on display.

While taking in the various sights, Larassa was particularly moved by the “Angels Among Us” tree. The theme of the tree and the message conveyed by certain ornaments reminded him of his daughter. “The tree stood out because Shawna was my angel,” he explained. “She truly, truly was an angel.”

He estimated that he put about 40 tickets into the raffle box for that tree but learned later that his name was not chosen. Undetered by the disappointing draw, he decided to offer to buy the tree from the winner, Steve Whittier.

Larassa contacted Kane and asked him to offer $100 for the tree but Whittier declined. Instead, he and his wife decided to give Larassa the tree as a gift for free. Larassa is shown in picture below with the “Angels Among Us” tree in his living room.

The Whittier family’s generous gesture was particularly moving for Larassa because it reminded him of the Christmas spirit demonstrated by Shawna over the past few years.

According to Larassa, Shawna proposed a new Christmas arrangement when she was 15 years old. She asked him to forego buying her gifts and, instead, give her the cash he would have spent so she could use it to buy gifts for her friends.

When he questioned his daughter to be sure she would be happy with a Christmas without gifts, Shawna replied, “Dad it is not about getting, it is about giving.”

Larassa said he plans to take the money he would have spent on the tree and deposit it into a special scholarship fund he has set up at Avidia Bank to honor Shawna’s memory. In addition, next year, he plans to enter the festival by sponsoring a tree in Shawna’s name. He also carries the following poem written by him shortly after Shawna died.

To Shawna

With the blink of an eye
I look to the sky.

With the blink of an eye,
you’re not here, you’re there.

I was with you one day,
and with my dismay you were gone.

I wish with all my heart
you did not depart.

You were my little girl,
you will be sadly and surely missed.

You are back in Heaven
from where you were sent.

You are my little angel,
now and forever,
with the blink of an eye.

7/09/09
Love Dad

Kane said he was excited to see the festival experience such growth this year, with about 400 visitors in 2008 and more than 1,500 last weekend. The expression of Christmas spirt by the Whittier’s and the impact of the event on Larassa added a new, unexpected dimension to the event. To view a collection of pictures related to Christmas at the Farm, click here.

Christmas at the Farm is one of numerous events held by the Historical Society during the course of the year to promote Marlborough’s heritage and raise funds that are used to preserve historical treasures. For those interested in learning more, the Society maintains an informative web site at www.historicmarlborough.org.

Telegram & Gazette - Aug 2009

August 2009 DUDLEY   The Charlton teenager who hosted a July drinking party attended by a friend who died in a car crash after leaving the gathering will face charges. Julianne R. Bouchard, 19, of 13 Lindsey Lane, will be arraigned in Dudley District Court Sept. 22 on a charge of furnishing alcohol for a person under the age of 21 on property under her control.

Clerk Magistrate Kenneth F. Candito found probable cause for the charge after listening to Charlton police at a hearing yesterday. Apparent facts discovered through logical inquiry that would lead a reasonably intelligent and prudent person to believe that an accused person has committed a crime, thereby warranting his or her prosecution, or that a Cause of Action has accrued, justifying a civil lawsuit.

Shawna J. Larassa, 19, was killed just before 2 a.m. July 9 in Dudley, blocks from Ms. Larassa’s home at 20 June St., Dudley. Her 1998 Chrysler Sebring was headed south on Pierpont Road when it went through the intersection at Dudley Oxford Road and crashed into a fence and a detached two-car garage. Ms. Larassa died at UMass Memorial Medical Center – University Campus in Worcester. She was accompanied by 18-year-old Webster residents Charnel C. Byrnes, who was seriously injured riding in the backseat, and Lisa M. Mardirosian, who was released soon after the accident. Ms. Byrnes has since been discharged from hospital care.

Investigators are also looking into whether Ms. Larassa had been racing another car before she died.

After the court hearing, Ms. Bouchard’s father said, “Obviously it was a tragic event. It’s a tragedy and it’s a shame.”

Mr. Bouchard referred questions to his daughter’s lawyer, Michael H. Erlich of Worcester. Mr. Ehrlich said most of the people at the party were friends. “That's what makes it such a tragic event,” he said. The lawyer declined to comment about whether Ms. Bouchard’s parents had reprimanded her for having the party, or if she had hosted other drinking parties. “Now that there’s a pending court case, we’re not going to make any comment as it progresses toward the arraignment. A criminal proceeding at which the defendant is officially called before a court of competent jurisdiction, informed of the offense charged in the complaint, information, indictment, or other charging document, and asked to enter a plea of guilty, not guilty, or as otherwise permitted,” he said.

According to her obituary, Ms. Larassa was a 2008 graduate of Bartlett High School in Webster and completed a year at Johnson & Wales University in Providence.

Ms. Bouchard and her father were interviewed at the Charlton Police Department on July 15. Characterizing the teen as cooperative, police said Ms. Bouchard told them she had a small gathering at her house July 8. Some of her friends brought alcohol. She said her parents were unaware of the gathering. Ms. Mardirosian told police Ms. Larassa picked her up at her Webster Lake home at 12 June Ave., Webster. They made the 15-minute drive back to Ms. Larassa’s home, consumed some alcohol, and between 9:15 and 9:20 p.m., arrived at Ms. Bouchard’s party with alcohol, ice and a cooler. Ms. Mardirosian told police Ms. Bouchard was able to have people over because her mother was going out and her father was away. “Ms. Mardirosian doesn’t recall seeing Julianne’s parents at the party. She believes they were gone before her arrival. She does recall seeing Julianne Bouchard’s younger sibling at the home,” the report said.

They drank beer and had tequila sunrises at the party. A drinking game, had taken place, Ms. Mardirosian told investigators. Later, they decided they needed more orange juice for the tequila mixture. They drove to White Hen Pantry in Webster, she said. On the way to the store, Ms. Larassa struck “some type of stone wall,” the report said. Ms. Mardirosian took over driving, the report said. They bought the orange juice about 12:30 a.m. and returned to the party. Soon after, they left the party, with Ms. Larassa behind the wheel. Ms. Mardirosian told police she didn’t remember the crash because she may have been text-messaging. She said she looked up and the airbag was deployed. “She recalls exiting the vehicle and screaming for help,” the report said.

Dudley police, the report said, were investigating a report “a second car may have been involved” and the two cars may have been racing. State police investigators were informed. Dudley Police Chief Steven J. Wojnar could not be reached to elaborate. At Ms. Larassa’s home, a man who identified himself as Ms. Larassa’s stepfather, when told of the looming arraignment, said he wanted to first speak with a lawyer before commenting. His eyes welling, he said, “Shawna was a great person,” but he declined to speak further.

On the social networking Web site, Facebook, a more-than-900-member page is devoted to “everyone whose lives were touched by Shawna Jean Larassa.”

Webster Times - Aug 14 2009

Homeowner charged in wake of fatal car accident

FURNISHING ALCOHOL TO MINORS ALLEGED

by Joy Richard Times Staff Writer

DUDLEY, Mass. -- After a car accident tragically claimed the life of a Dudley teenager last month, charges have been filed against a Charlton resident for the circumstances that may have led to the incident.

Julianne R. Bouchard, of 13 Lindsay Lane, Charlton, was charged with furnishing alcohol to minors last week after the death of 19-year-old Dudley resident Shawna Larassa, according to Charlton Police Chief James A. Pervier.

Larassa was killed after an accident that took place at the intersection of Pierpont and Dudley Oxford roads. She and two other passengers, Lisa Mardirosian, 18, of Webster, and Charnel Byrnes, 18, of Webster were involved in the accident after leaving a party held at Bouchard’s home. Mardirosian and Byrnes were taken along with Larassa to UMass Memorial Hospital in Worcester.

Larassa was a graduate of Bartlett High School, a member of the Class of 2008. She had just completed her freshman year at Johnson and Wales University, in Providence, R.I., where she was a business and criminal justice major.

Mardirosian, who was in the passenger’s seat at the time of the accident was treated and released the same day.

According to the police report, when crews arrived at the scene, they found one vehicle, a 1998 Chrysler Sebring. The vehicle was found by police to be traveling south on Pierpont Road and continued through the intersection with Dudley Oxford Road, where the vehicle collided with a garage and fence at 184 Oxford Rd.

A court date for Bouchard has not been determined as of press time Monday, Aug. 10.


A PDF file of this entire paper can be downloaded here

Telegram & Gazette - Jul 2009

July 2009 Car crash kills local teen

TWO INJURED IN EARLY MORNING ACCIDENT BY JOY RICHARD TIMES STAFF WRITER

DUDLEY – Three local teens were involved in an early morning car crash Thursday, July 9, that tragically claimed the life of the driver.

According to Dudley police, the accident took place at approximately 1:55 a.m. Thursday morning. Dudley police, fire and emergency response crews were called to a motor vehicle accident located at the intersection of Pierpont Road and Dudley Oxford Road.

The three teens in the accident were identified as Shawna Larassa, 19, of Dudley, Lisa Mardirosian, 18, of Webster, and Charnel Byrnes, 18, of Webster. All of the passengers were transported to UMass Memorial Hospital in Worcester. According to the police report, speed and other factors are being investigated into as contributing factors to the accident.

Larassa, the driver of the vehicle, passed away at UMass due to her injuries later in the day Thursday, July 9.

She was a graduate of Bartlett High School, a member of the Class of 2008. She had just completed her freshman year at Johnson and Wales University, in Providence, R.I., where she was a business and criminal justice major.

Mardirosian, who was in the passenger’s seat at the time of the accident, was treated and released the same day. The back seat passenger, Byrnes, remains hospitalized.

According to the police report, her exact condition is unknown at this time, but the injuries she sustained are not believed to be life threatening.

According to the police report, when crews arrived at the scene, they found one vehicle, a 1998 Chrysler Sebring. The vehicle was found by police to be traveling south on Pierpont Road and continued through the intersection with Dudley Oxford Road, where the vehicle collided with a garage and fence at 184 Oxford Rd.

According to Dudley Police Chief Steven J. Wojnar, the accident is currently under investigation by both Dudley and Charlton Police Departments who also assisted at the scene along with the Oxford Fire Department. Also participating in the investigation are members of the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office, the Massachusetts State Police Accident Reconstruction Team, and Dudley Police Sgt. Paul Ceppetelli and Officer Anthony DiDonato.

“We are gathering information at the moment,” said Wojnar. “Our end of the investigation is focusing on the accident and it’s cause, while working close with Charlton to find out more about the where it was they were coming from. At this time there will be no criminal charges filed.”

He said state police as well as detectives out of Auburn would be helping both the Dudley and Charlton Police Departments find out more information as the investigation goes on.

Charlton Police Chief James A. Pervier said the car was traveling from a home in Charlton.

“We are conducting an investigation with the people involved,” said Pervier. “We are trying to determine who was there [at the home in Charlton] and who was not as well as what went on [before the accident].”

Pervier said the Charlton Police are working along side Dudley Police and the District Attorney to find out exactly the cause and circumstance of the accident.

“We don’t want to jump to any conclusions before we find out everything,” said Pervier.

Telegram & Gazette - Jul 2009

DUDLEY – The Charlton teenager who hosted a July drinking party attended by a friend who died in a car crash after leaving the gathering will face charges. Julianne R. Bouchard, 19, of 13 Lindsey Lane, will be arraigned in Dudley District Court Sept. 22 on a charge of furnishing alcohol for a person under the age of 21 on property under her control. Clerk Magistrate Kenneth F. Candito found probable cause for the charge after listening to Charlton police at a hearing yesterday.

Shawna J. Larassa, 19, was killed just before 2 a.m. July 9 in Dudley, blocks from Ms. Larassa’s home at 20 June St., Dudley. Her 1998 Chrysler Sebring was headed south on Pierpont Road when it went through the intersection at Dudley Oxford Road and crashed into a fence and a detached two-car garage. Ms. Larassa died at UMass Memorial Medical Center – University Campus in Worcester. She was accompanied by 18-year-old Webster residents Charnel C. Byrnes, who was seriously injured riding in the backseat, and Lisa M. Mardirosian, who was released soon after the accident. Ms. Byrnes has since been discharged from hospital care.

Investigators are also looking into whether Ms. Larassa had been racing another car before she died. After the court hearing, Ms. Bouchard’s father, Robert Bouchard, said, “Obviously it was a tragic event. It’s a tragedy and it’s a shame.” Mr. Bouchard referred questions to his daughter’s lawyer, Michael H. Erlich of Worcester. Mr. Ehrlich said most of the people at the party were friends. &ldquop;That’s what makes it such a tragic event,” he said. The lawyer declined to comment about whether Ms. Bouchard’s parents had reprimanded her for having the party, or if she had hosted other drinking parties. “Now that there’s a pending court case, we’re not going to make any comment as it progresses toward the arraignment,” he said.

According to her obituary, Ms. Larassa was a 2008 graduate of Bartlett High School in Webster and completed a year at Johnson & Wales University in Providence.

Ms. Bouchard and her father were interviewed at the Charlton Police Department on July 15. Characterizing the teen as cooperative, police said Ms. Bouchard told them she had a small gathering at her house July 8. Some of her friends brought alcohol. She said her parents were unaware of the gathering. Ms. Mardirosian told police Ms. Larassa picked her up at her Webster Lake home at 12 June Ave., Webster. They made the 15-minute drive back to Ms. Larassa’s home, consumed some alcohol, and between 9:15 and 9:20 p.m., arrived at Ms. Bouchard’s party with alcohol, ice and a cooler. Ms. Mardirosian told police Ms. Bouchard was able to have people over because her mother was going out and her father was away. “Ms. Mardirosian doesn’t recall seeing Julianne’s parents at the party. She believes they were gone before her arrival. She does recall seeing Julianne Bouchard’s younger sibling at the home,” the report said. They drank beer and had tequila sunrises at the party. A drinking game, “beer pong,” had taken place, Ms. Mardirosian told investigators. Later, they decided they needed more orange juice for the tequila mixture. They drove to White Hen Pantry in Webster, she said. On the way to the store, Ms. Larassa struck “some type of stone wall,” the report said. Ms. Mardirosian took over driving, the report said. They bought the orange juice about 12:30 a.m. and returned to the party. Soon after, they left the party, with Ms. Larassa behind the wheel. Ms. Mardirosian told police she didn’t remember the crash because she may have been text-messaging. She said she looked up and the airbag was deployed. “She recalls exiting the vehicle and screaming for help,” the report said.

Dudley police, the report said, were investigating a report “a second car may have been involved” and the two cars may have been racing. State police investigators were informed. Dudley Police Chief Steven J. Wojnar could not be reached to elaborate.

At Ms. Larassa’s home, a man who identified himself as Ms. Larassa’s stepfather, when told of the looming arraignment, said he wanted to first speak with a lawyer before commenting. His eyes welling, he said, “Shawna was a great person,” but he declined to speak further. On the social networking Web site, Facebook, a more-than-900-member page is devoted to “everyone whose lives were touched by Shawna Jean Larassa.”

Channel 5 Website - Jul 2009

From Channel 5’s website: DUDLEY, Mass. -- A teenager who hosted a drinking party attended by a friend who later died in a car crash will face charges. A clerk magistrate on Wednesday found probable cause to charge Julianne Bouchard, 19, of Charlton with furnishing alcohol for a person under the age of 21 on property under her control. Bouchard is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 22 in Dudley District Court. Police said Shawna Larassa, 19, died after she crashed the car she was driving in the early morning hours of July 9 in Dudley after leaving Bouchard’s party. Another person who attended the party says Bouchard’s parents were not home. Bouchard’s lawyer told The Telegram & Gazette the event was a tragedy but otherwise refused comment. The crash remains under investigation.

Webster Times - Jul 17 2009

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