Chicopee man pleads guilty to a 2013 Belchertown crash

Paul J. Genest was sentenced to 2½ years in the House of Correction

CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – A 41-year-old man from Chicopee pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges in connection with a serious two car collision on Route 21 in Belchertown in 2013.

According to Mary Carey of the Northwestern DA’s Office, Paul J. Genest pleaded guilty in Hampshire Superior Court to indictments charging him with operating under the influence of intoxicating liquor, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle, in connection with a serious two-car collision on Route 21 in Belchertown on July 30, 2013.

Genest was a patrol officer with the Chicopee Police Department, where he had worked for 15 years. He was placed on administrative leave following the crash.

Carey said that Genest was operating his Jeep Cherokee southbound on Route 21 when he crossed over the center line and collided nearly head-on with a northbound Honda Pilot.

The driver of the Honda was 19-year-old Emma Norden of Belchertown. Norden suffered a broken left foot and multiple lacerations in the crash, and had to be freed from her vehicle using the Jaws of Life.

When Genest was treated at Baystate Medical Center after the crash, a sample of his blood was collected and revealed a blood-alcohol concentration of nearly three times the legal limit, said Carey.

Genest was sentenced to 2½ years in the House of Correction, with 30 days to serve, and the balance of the sentence suspended during a five-year probationary period. the judge is allowing Genest to start serving his 30-days on July 1st.

Carey said, following his release from jail, Genest will be on probation for five years, and have to abide by the following special conditions of his probation:

  1. Abstain from alcohol;
  2. Attend alcohol counseling (AA or as otherwise directed by Probation);
  3. Attend and successfully complete the “Brains at Risk” program;
  4. Consent to the installation of an in-house Breathalyzer (“sobrietor”) on a dedicated phone line in his home, blowing into twice a day at times to be determined by Probation (this condition subject to potential removal after successful completion of two (2) years of probation should he be fully compliant with his probation during that time, and dependent upon the assent of the Commonwealth);
  5. One-year loss of license, retroactive to July 30, 2013;
  6. Upon reinstatement of driving privileges on July 30, 2014, the defendant shall not operate a motor vehicle other than as required to fulfill his duties as a Chicopee Police Officer, including use of his personal vehicle to travel directly from home to work, use of Chicopee Police Department vehicles as necessitated during his shifts, and use of his personal vehicle to travel directly from work back to home, with no stops, detours, or other personal uses along the way (this condition subject to potential removal after successful completion of two (2) years of probation should he be fully compliant with his probation during that time, and dependent upon the assent of the Commonwealth);
  7. Defendant agrees to the installation of an ignition interlock device on any personal vehicle he may choose to operate, which would require him to blow a clean air sample before the car will start;
  8. Defendant agrees not to operate any private vehicle not equipped with an ignition interlock device pursuant to paragraph (g), above;
  9. Do not incur any motor vehicle violations;
  10. Payment of restitution in the amount of $10,000.00.

Norden was represented in court by her parents, who submitted a victim-impact statement for Judge Josephson’s consideration. First Assistant District Attorney Steven E. Gagne prosecuted the matter on behalf of the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office. The case was investigated by Belchertown Police Detective John Raymer and Massachusetts State Police Sergeant Christopher Sanchez of the Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section (“CARS”).

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