Haverhill man charged with motor vehicle homicide following death of state trooper

Jill Harmacinski, The Eagle-Tribune, North Andover, Mass.

Apr. 16—LOWELL — A Haverhill man is charged with negligent motor vehicle homicide after a July 2018 crash that resulted in the death of Massachusetts State Trooper Thomas Devlin two years later, authorities said.

Kevin Francis, 55, was arraigned in Lowell District Court on Friday and released on personal recognizance by Judge Ellen Caulo, according to a spokesperson for Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan.

Caulo also ordered Francis not to drive.

Francis' arraignment was held Friday following a hearing before a clerk magistrate Monday. The clerk magistrate ruled there was probable cause to issue a complaint for negligent motor vehicle homicide.

On the afternoon of July 26, 2018, Devlin was outside his state police cruiser during a traffic stop on Route 3 just south of Route 129 in Billerica when he was struck by a Toyota Prius driven by Francis, police said.

Francis previously was arraigned in Lowell District Court on charges of negligent operation of a motor vehicle, a marked lanes violation, and failure to move over for an emergency vehicle.

Francis could face indictment on the vehicular homicide charge by a Middlesex County grand jury. If he is indicted, his case will be moved to Middlesex Superior Court where the penalties he faces if convicted could be more severe.

Devlin, 58, of Wilmington, surrounded by his family, died on Sept. 3, 2020, from injuries he suffered two years earlier in the crash. He had undergone many surgeries, according to his family.

He was a member of the 66th Recruit Training Troop and graduated from the State Police Academy in 1985. For much of his career, Devlin was assigned to the state police barracks in Concord. But he also worked out of the Andover barracks and the Lowell and Lawrence Registry of Motor Vehicle offices. He was well known in the Merrimack Valley.

Fellow troopers said Devlin always took his oath as a state trooper seriously.

During his lengthy career, Devlin "was responsible for saving multiple lives and has received countless accolades and honors to commend his performance," according to his obituary. "However, as close friends and family know, his job was far from the top of the list of reasons why he was an incredible man of God, husband, father and citizen. Tommy, as he was affectionately called, was the model of selflessness and sacrifice."

In addition to his wife, Nancy, Devlin is survived by his four children, Matthew, Rachel, Paul and Hannah.

Francis is due back in court April 19.

Follow staff reporter Jill Harmacinski on Twitter @EagleTribJill.