Lawrence woman held on $50K bail after double fatal crash

ANDOVER — At 4:30 Saturday morning, just two hours before she was involved in a deadly Interstate 93 crash, Shayna Fernandez was drinking beer, she told police.

“Oh God, I killed them all,” the tearful 21-year-old told state police.

Fernandez, of 1131 Essex St., Lawrence was held on $50,000 cash bail after her arraignment late yesterday morning on motor-vehicle homicide, drunken driving, speeding and other charges.

Fernandez is accused of driving an Acura RSX at a high rate of speed, possibly 90 mph, in the far left lane of I-93 northbound near the River Road exit when her car hit a 1993 Chevy S-10 Blazer being driven by Francis A. O’Hanley Jr., 62, of Saugus.

Fernandez’s car left the roadway, entered the center median and re-entered the highway, hitting the Blazer a second time and causing it to roll over and come to rest in the median, Trooper Daniel O’Brien wrote in his report.

O’Hanley died at Lawrence General Hospital as a result of the accident. Joseph A. Coppola, 57, of Malden, a passenger in O’Hanley’s car, died later at Massachusetts General Hospital from injuries he suffered in the crash.

Timothy O’Hanley, 25, of Saugus, a passenger in the Blazer, was treated at Lawrence General Hospital. Fernandez was not injured in the crash, which happened at about 6:55 a.m. Saturday.

Fernandez had been held on $50,000 since Saturday morning’s accident.

Prosecutor Colleen Cashman asked Judge Thomas Brennan to impose the same financial condition at yesterday’s arraignment.

Fernandez told O’Brien the crash occurred as she was traveling in the left lane and the Blazer, with a small watercraft and trailer in tow behind it, was in the center lane.

“She stated as she approached the truck it began to change lanes into the left lane. At the same time, she attempted to enter the center lane. Ms. Fernandez stated she then struck the rear of the trailer, lost control her vehicle and went into the median. Her vehicle then re-entered the roadway and struck the Blazer again,” O’Brien wrote.

While witnesses said she was driving 90 mph, Fernandez told police she was driving between 65 to 70 mph and had just dropped off a friend in Lowell. She told O’Brien she had two beers at a friend’s house — her last beer around 4:30 Saturday morning.

She was then given a series of sobriety and chemical breath tests, all of which indicated she was intoxicated, police said.

Friends and family of both Fernandez along with relatives of the victims cried openly and consoled one another in the courtroom yesterday.

“We are so sorry for the families. Our hearts go out to them,” said Sherry Santiago, 35, Fernandez’s aunt, as tears rolled down her face.

Dressed in jeans, a plaid shirt and sneakers, Fernandez bowed her head and wept during the arraignment. Friends said she told them she wished she had died in the crash instead of the two men.

“She is not an alcoholic. She is a good person,” friend Stephanie Gomez said outside court.

Defense attorney Stephen Wright yesterday described Fernandez as extremely upset and remorseful. Born in Haverhill, she grew up in Lawrence, graduated from Lawrence High School and works full-time as a personal care assistant for a severely disabled younger sister. He asked Brennan to impose a $5,000 bail, something Fernandez’s family could come up with.

“She is a good person that had something awful happen to them,” Wright said. “It is a serious matter, and she will face it.”

He said that Fernandez does not feel the accident was her fault and noted she cooperated with state police.

He said the state police report refers to witnesses who allegedly saw Fernandez speeding. However, the report does not say who these witnesses are or where they live, Wright said.

Brennan rebuffed Wright’s request for $5,000 bail, noting “there are two people who are dead.”

The maximum sentence for a motor vehicle homicide conviction is 15 years in state prison.

Relatives of the victims left court immediately after the arraignment.

Fernandez was formally charged with motor vehicle homicide while drunken driving, two counts, drunken driving, negligent operation, speeding, failure to drive in marked lanes and failure to wear a seat belt.