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Triple funeral to be held this week for family killed in Somerset wrong way crash



Family photos

A triple funeral will be held for a family that died from injuries sustained in a Somerset crash.

73-year-old Floriano Arruda and his 15-year-old grandson, Jacoby Arruda, both of Seekonk, were killed in a Christmas night crash that had also critically injured Floriano’s wife, 68-year-old Donna Arruda. Donna passed away on Friday afternoon at Rhode Island Hospital.

Jacoby was described by those who knew him as a great kid who was respectful, athletic, and had a quick wit. He had recently changed schools from Dighton-Rehoboth to Seekonk and has played both junior and high school football. According to an obituary, he enjoyed playing video games and eating taquitos for breakfast. Jacoby always stopped to pet a dog and was a good friend to many.

Floriano and Donna were described as a nice and sweet couple of 38 years who were very caring and supportive of Jacoby as the 15-year-old lost his father unexpectedly in 2015 leaving the couple to care for him.

According to an obituary, “Flo worked at Duro Finishing for 30 plus years and most recently at Superior Trucking where the team considered him family. He enjoyed a Sunday ride on his motorcycle, a walk with his lovely wife Donna and was quick to lend a hand without hesitation to anyone who needed it.”

Donna was born in Fall River and worked in the Dighton Rehoboth School System. An obituary stated that “she saw the good in everything, always had a coffee in her hand, gave selflessly to her loved ones and had a great laugh.”

Adam Gauthier, the 41-year-old New York City resident arrested on charges related to the late Christmas night motor vehicle double-fatality on the Somerset side of the Veteran’s Memorial Bridge, was ordered held on $100,000 cash bail during his arraignment Tuesday at Saint Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III announced.

Gauthier, formerly of Somerset, was arrested shortly after the 11:00 p.m. crash and was initially charged with two counts of Manslaughter while Operating Under the Influence, two counts of Motor Vehicle Homicide-OUI Liquor, and one count each of OUI-Liquor with Serious Bodily Injury, Reckless Operation of a Motor Vehicle and Driving the Wrong Way on a State Highway.

New charges of Manslaughter while Operating Under the Influence and Motor Vehicle Homicide-OUI Liquor will be filed against Gauthier. These two new charges come in addition to the charges the defendant is already facing in connection with this incident, according to Gregg Miliote of the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office.

After being arrested, Gauthier was transported to Saint Luke’s Hospital for treatment of non-life-threatening injuries. He is set to appear in Fall River District Court for an initial pre-trial hearing in the case on January 9. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Catherine Sauter.

“This is a terrible tragedy, especially when it occurred on Christmas night. My heart grieves for the victims and their family for their terrible loss,” District Attorney Quinn said.

Massachusetts State Police of the Dartmouth Barracks received an emergency call at 11:00 p.m. Monday night regarding a collision on the bridge involving a wrong way operator.

The preliminary investigation has revealed that Gauthier was driving a Range Rover eastbound in the westbound lane on Route 6 while crossing the bridge. While on the bridge, Gauthier’s vehicle struck an Infiniti SUV head on.

The Infiniti was being operated by Floriano Arruda. Arruda’s wife, Donna was in the front passenger seat and Jacoby was in the rear of the vehicle.

All three of the Arrudas were rushed to area hospitals. Jacoby Arruda was pronounced deceased Monday night at Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, and Floriano Arruda was pronounced deceased Tuesday morning at Rhode Island Hospital.

Beyond the two initial vehicles involved in the crash was a third vehicle that also sustained front end damage during the incident. The driver and front seat passenger of the third vehicle sustained minor injuries and were treated at Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River.

The investigation into the crash remains ongoing. The probe is conducted by Homicide Unit prosecutors, the State Police Detective Unit assigned to DA Quinn’s office, State Police-Dartmouth Barracks and State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section.

Visitation for the Arrudas will be held Thursday January 4th from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM and 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM at Auclair Funeral Home. The funeral mass will take place on Friday January 5th at 10:00 AM at St. John of God Church in Somerset.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Too much loss

    January 1, 2024 at 1:46 pm

    My heart breaks for this family.

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