BROCKTON — Danielle S. Mastro told police she was on her cellphone with “my drug dealer” when she caused a chain-reaction crash in Brockton Tuesday that killed a Department of Mental Health worker, according to a police report, which added that she then tried to buy $50 in heroin as the victim lay in the street nearby.
“I think I was texting,” the 33-year-old Mastro said following the crash on Quincy Street in Brockton Tuesday around 2:19 p.m, State Police said. “I was calling someone. I didn’t pay attention to where I was going, and I rear-ended someone.”
Mastro, a Pembroke resident, pleaded not guilty in Brockton District Court to motor vehicle homicide, leaving the scene after causing personal injury or death, and operating after suspension. Bail was set at $50,000 cash.
According to the State Police report filed in court, 58-year-old Deborah Combra was killed in the crash. She was returning to her office with a co-worker when Mastro rear-ended the Chevrolet Equinox that Combra was driving, pushing it into a 12-wheeled dump truck.
Combra was knocked out of the SUV and was found by first responders lying in Quincy Street adjacent to the DMH’s Southeast Area office. Both the victim and her passenger, a 53-year-old co-worker, were taken to Brockton Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The passenger suffered serious injuries.
A bouquet of flowers was left Wednesday underneath the large blue sign for the department office.
Manny Combra’s eyes filled with tears as he spoke about his wife outside of their house in Bridgewater.
“Wish I could turn the clock back and have her back,” he said.
Whitman police said Deborah Combra was the mother of reserve police Officer Michael Combra.
The Department of Mental Health issued a statement, saying, “Our hearts are heavy that one of our colleagues, Deb Combra, tragically lost her life and another is hospitalized.” Combra was a procurement supervisor in the Brockton office.
Patty Rose, who lives on Quincy Street but who was not at home at the time of the crash, said the truck ended up on her front lawn, nearly hit her house, and splashed it with oil and gasoline.
“I’m sad for everybody else,’’ she said. “I feel so sorry for the family.”
Mastro, who was driving her mother’s 2008 Audi A6 at the time of the crash, suffered minor injuries and was questioned by State Police after waiving her Miranda rights, according to the State Police report.
“I’m [expletive] dope-sick as [expletive] right now,’’ Mastro allegedly said, adding that she had been drinking vodka earlier Tuesday and that she used heroin or any other drugs she could find. She said she reached her drug dealer while on the cellphone and jumped out of her damaged car and went looking for him in the neighborhood to complete the $50 heroin buy.
Mastro was taken into custody by a Brockton police officer minutes later after two eyewitnesses identified her as the woman they saw getting out of the Audi, according to the report.
According to the report, she said she recalled the air bags being deployed at the time of the crash and understood that the car was no longer drivable. She got out of the car “so I can try and get my [heroin] before I have to go deal with the cops. . . . My dude told me to meet him at the end of the road.”
Mastro’s parents were in court Wednesday, but they left without speaking to reporters.
According to the report, Mastro’s mother called Hanson police Tuesday and told them her daughter was driving her car without permission. Mastro said Hanson police tried to pull her over, but she sped off, losing them as she entered Brockton.
Hanson Police Chief Michael R. Miksch issued a statement Wednesday saying an officer attempted to stop the Audi on Route 14 for a minor civil motor vehicle infraction near the intersection of Route 27 about 2 p.m.
The statement said the officer saw the Audi pull to the side of the road and then the vehicle took off again as he exited his vehicle.
Miksch said the incident lasted 90 seconds and the officer, knowing schools were being dismissed and there was heavy traffic in the area, decided not to pursue the vehicle and alerted police in surrounding communities that the vehicle should be stopped for identification purposes.
Mastro was driving with a suspended license at the time of the crash. Following the fatal crash, the Registry of Motor Vehicles concluded she is an “immediate threat” to the driving public and revoked her right to drive, records show.
Since 2004, Mastro has been involved in seven accidents in Norwell, Brockton, Brighton, Pembroke, Hanson, and Braintree, according to RMV records. Her right to drive was suspended April 26 for having repeated traffic violations, according to the RMV.Emily Sweeney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. John R. Ellement can be reached at email@example.com.