WAKEFIELD – A Westerly man charged with driving to endanger resulting in death following a September 2015 crash on Interstate 95 that lead to the death of his niece has changed his plea and will forgo a trial. He is scheduled to be sentenced next month.
Obdulio Rosado, who is identified in court documents with the last name Rosas-Rosado, appeared before Superior Court Associate Justice Jeffrey A. Lanphear Friday following a series of motion hearings, electing to change his plea from not guilty to nolo contendere, or no contest. If left unchanged, the case was scheduled to begin Monday, according to court records.
The change in plea comes following a lengthy pretrial phase in which Rosado, through his attorneys, had challenged the merits of the case and requested that the charges be dismissed, a request that was denied in 2016 by Superior Court Judge Luis Matos.
Rosado, 30, was first arrested in December 2016 following a multi-agency investigation into the Sept. 21, 2015, crash along I-95 southbound between exits 1 and 2. Police said a silver Volvo driven by Rosado collided with a black Chevrolet, causing the Volvo to leave the roadway and roll over several times.
State police determined that the Volvo was traveling at a minimum speed of 86 mph when it struck the rear of the Chevy. Both cars were in the breakdown lane when the crash occurred.
Felecia Bolduc, 16, a Westerly High School senior at the time and Rosado’s niece, was pronounced dead at the scene. Rosado sustained serious injuries and was transported via Life Flight helicopter to Rhode Island Hospital, but has since recovered according to officials. Alisha Stebbins, who was driving the Chevrolet, did not suffer any reported injuries, according to court documents, but was taken to Westerly Hospital as a precaution.
Following a police interview with Stebbins, Rosado was charged with driving to endanger with death resulting and had originally pleaded not guilty to the charge during a pretrial conference in March 2016.
Attorneys for Rosado initially challenged the police investigation and statements made by Stebbins. His attorney also made several motions to compel discovery and suppress evidence during pretrial hearings in November, according to court documents, before Rosado decided to change his plea on Friday.
Rosado faces a sentence of up to 10 years in prison but court documents indicate his time served will be capped at five years with the balance suspended. He is being credited with 47 days already served. Documents also indicate he will be on probation for 10 years and lose his driver’s license for three years upon release from prison. He also has been ordered to undergo a mental health assessment.
He is scheduled to be sentenced by Lanphear on Jan. 17.