Convicted Drunken Driver Injures Priest Who Counseled Alcoholics

Associated Press
May 22, 1985

At times, he tries to make the sign of the cross. But the Rev. Thomas Motherway, a Roman Catholic priest who counseled alcoholics, usually lies silently in his hospital bed.

He is the victim of a Feb. 17 car crash that authorities say involved a motorist with three drunken driving convictions.

As a grand jury charged Paul W. Kane on Tuesday, Motherway was semi-conscious at Massachusetts General Hospital with broken legs and serious face, eye and pelvic injuries. Motherway, 42, breathes with aid of a life-support system and doctors say he may never walk or speak again.

"That's the irony of the whole thing, isn't it?" said Motherway's second cousin, Carmel Motherway. "He helped alcoholics. He attended AA meetings in the community. And then this happened."

Kane was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, driving to endanger and driving the wrong way on a one-way street. Court and hospital records show that his blood-alcohol level at the time of his arrest was 0.35, more than three times above the legally drunk level of 0.10.

Ms. Motherway said the priest is unable to speak, but occasionally responds to visitors by trying to make the sign of the cross.

Kane is to be arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on Friday, Assistant District Attorney Timothy Burke said.

Burke said that Kane, a 32-year-old former truck driver, was convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol three times in the past six years. For his last conviction, he was sentenced to seven days in jail, but it is unknown whether he ever served time, Burke said.

"The question is, why did this man still have a license?" Burke asked. "We can't seem to find out why."

Iona Smith, a spokeswoman for the Registry of Motor Vehicles, said the agency will act on Kane's case this week, but did not remove his license sooner because, "Sometimes courts take time in getting that information to us."

Kane's phone number is not listed. His attorney, Alfred P. Farese Sr., declined to discuss the case.

"Not guilty, that's all I can tell you now," he said.

Burke said he will press for the maximum penalty _ 2 1/2 years for driving to endanger and 2 1/2 years for driving under the influence of alcohol. Driving the wrong way carries a fine.

"This case warrants the office's full attention because of the nature of the repetition," said Burke. "This is the fourth subsequent offense."

Motherway, who worked at the 1,500-family Roman Catholic parish St. Margaret's in Dorchester, was ordained 16 years ago Tuesday.

"He is the kind of person who would take enormous amount of time out of his life to do somebody a kind service," Ms. Motherway said. "He would stop by high school students at school to see how they were doing and say hello. He felt his work with alcoholics was rewarding."


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