The mother of Matthew Denice is preparing to head to court next month for the trial of the man charged in the drunk driving-related death of her son nearly three years ago.
Nicolas Guaman, an illegal immigrant from Ecuador, is accused of allegedly striking and dragging Denice, a Framingham State University graduate and Milford resident, on Aug. 20, 2011 in Milford.
Guaman's trial was originally set for Thursday, April 3, but was delayed and rescheduled for Thursday, May 7 in Worcester Superior Court.
"I'm hoping there are no more delays," Maureen Maloney, Denice's mother, said. "That the date that works for everybody, and we can just move forward with the trial and put it behind us."
Maloney said she expects the trial to last about five to six days in court, but may take longer due to Guaman's need for a translator.
"It's definitely a bench trial, so it will be the judge making the choice," she said.
Guaman, an Ecuadorian citizen who is reportedly in the U.S. illegally, pleaded not guilty in Milford District Court last August to charges of operating a vehicle under the influence of liquor, negligent operation, leaving the scene of personal injury and death, possession of an open container of alcohol in a vehicle, failure to stop for police, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, failure to stop or held, resisting arrest and wanton or reckless conduct creating risk to a child. Guaman's 6-year-old son was reportedly in his truck at the time of the incident.
The case has ties to a proposed "Safe Driving Bill" that would allow illegal immigrants to obtain driver's licenses. Supporters of Bill H.3285 say it would make drivers safer because illegal immigrants would have to be trained in the rules of the road and pass written and road tests before getting a license.
But the bill has sparked widespread opposition, as well, and Milford resident started an online petition against it.
"I'm still opposed to it," Maloney said. "These are people who are driving without a license. They're blatantly doing it, so I don't think we should be changing our laws to accommodate people that are breaking our laws."
She added, "We have laws that are in place for a reason. I'm all for keeping the roads safe, but I believe keeping the roads safe is by keeping licensed drivers on the road, and being licensed is a privilege, not an entitlement. Those people are in the country illegally, they purchased vehicles they shouldn't have, and they're driving without a license. It's scary when you think about the number of people driving around without a license and don't have an education to be behind a steering wheel safely. And that's really my motive behind this, is that no other family has to go through this."
After the trial, Maloney said she also plans to become more actively involved with organizations dealing with drunk drivers.
For updates on the case, visit a Facebook page established in Denice's memory titled "Justice for Matt".