At approximately 3:40 p.m. on Sunday, October 9th, police responded to the vicinity of Mammoth Road and 8th Avenue for a crash involving two pedestrians struck by a motor vehicle.
Catherine Gaudette, 17, of Dracut, MA operating a 2002 Honda Accord (with 3 passengers) struck Doris Milagro-Ortiz, 45, of Lowell who was crossing Mammoth Road near 8th avenue. The Honda continued for approximately 50 feet, crossed the marked lane and struck Tina Phoeuth, 22, of Lowell who was entering her parked vehicle on Mammoth Road. The three male passengers in Gaudette’s Honda have been identified as Andrew Dubois, 17, of Dracut and two male juveniles, 15 and 16, respectively; of Dracut.
Doris Milagro-Ortiz remains in critical condition at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston. Tina Phoeuth remains in serious condition at Lowell General Hospital.
The crash was investigated by Lowell officers assigned to the Lowell PD’s Traffic Division who have been trained in crash reconstruction.
Prior to the crash, Gaudette and two of her passengers were allegedly inhaling the vapors from a can of compressed air, which is commonly used to clean computer equipment. The chemical propellant in the product is difluoroethane, which is known to be abused by individuals to obtain a “high.” Inhaling the chemical propellant allegedly results in hypoxia, allegedly resulting in the body being temporarily deprived of oxygen in the lungs, allegedly creating the “high.” Gaudette allegedly lost consciousness temporarily while driving northbound on Mammoth Road prior to crashing into the two pedestrians.
Gaudette will be charged with Assault and Battery with a Dangerous Weapon (motor vehicle) Causing Serious Bodily Injury (2 counts), Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle, Impeded Operation, Failure to Slow for a Pedestrian, Operating at Speed Greater than Reasonable, and Failure to Drive in Marked Lanes.
Gaudette will be summonsed into court for the aforementioned charges on a later date (yet to be determined).
These charges are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Press Conference scheduled today at 3:00 p.m. at the Lowell Police Station in the main lobby.