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Vermont father pleads guilty to manslaughter in drowning death of 2-year-old son after allegedly fleeing DUI crash

A Vermont man pleaded guilty Monday to three charges including manslaughter in the death of his 2-year-old son, who police say fell into a fast-moving stream as his father fled the scene of a car crash in Massachusetts last April.

Darel Galorenzo, of Readsboro, Vermont, was sentenced to nine to 15 years in prison on the manslaughter charge, far exceeding the state's sentencing guideline of three years.

He was also sentenced to 2 1/2 years for operating under the influence of liquor and operating under the influence while endangering a child, to be served concurrently with the manslaughter sentence.

"I will spare the public of the traumatic details of the incidents that led to a two-year-old child's death which included first surviving a car crash then ultimately drowning on a cold, dark night in a river rushing with melting snow," District Attorney Timothy Shugrue said in a statement. "However, I wish to express that this is one of the most tragic cases I have seen in my almost 40 years of practicing law." 

Prosecutors had sought a prison sentence of 12 to 15 years; Defense requested four years.

Galorenzo initially pleaded not guilty in Northern Berkshire District Court in North Adams last year.

Massachusetts State Police troopers responded to reports of a single-vehicle rollover in the town of Clarksburg at about 2 a.m. April 8, 2023, police said.

Police said a preliminary investigation suggested the boy died after his father lost him in a brook while fleeing the scene of a motor vehicle crash on foot.

The child was pulled from Hudson Brook around 2:20 a.m. and rushed to Berkshire Medical Center in North Adams where he was pronounced dead. A preliminary autopsy found he died of drowning and hypothermia.

Police found Galorenzo, soaking wet, near the stream, and he appeared intoxicated, according to police.

"While attempting to wade through the swift current and frigid water, Galorenzo more than likely fell and lost his grip on the child," the police report said.

Galorenzo was treated at a hospital for minor injuries. He told police that they went for a drive because his son could not sleep and had been coughing. He blamed the crash on ice and said the child ran away from him into the stream.

DA Shugrue said Monday that he spoke to the toddler's mother after the hearing.

"I shared my sincerest condolences, but I recognize my words most likely bring little comfort to her devastating loss," DA Shugrue said. "As a parent myself, I cannot imagine the deep sadness she is experiencing."

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