Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, Franklin
Heard: September 8, 2016.
received and sworn to in the Orange Division of the District
Court Department on May 3, 2013. The case was heard by David
S. Ross, J.
review by the Appeals Court, the Supreme Judicial Court
granted leave to obtain further appellate review.
H. Powers for the defendant.
H. Townsend, Assistant District Attorney, for the
Present: Gants, C.J., Botsford, Lenk, Hines, Gaziano, Lowy,
& Budd, JJ.
a jury-waived trial in the Orange Division of the District
Court Department in March, 2014, the defendant, Randy A.
LeBlanc, was found guilty of knowingly causing damage to
another automobile in a private driveway and leaving without
identifying himself to the owner under G. L. c. 90, § 24
(2) (a.) - He appealed, and the Appeals Court
affirmed the conviction in a memorandum and order issued
pursuant to its rule 1:28. Commonwealth v.
LeBlanc, 88 Mass.App.Ct. 1112 (2015). We granted
further appellate review to determine whether the prohibition
set forth in § 24 (2) (a.) against leaving the scene
after causing property damage without providing
identification includes as an element of the crime that the
accident causing the damage occurred on a public
way.We conclude that it does not and affirm the
trial evidence would permit the following facts to be found.
In February, 2013, a friend of the defendant telephoned him
to ask for a ride to a nearby convenience store. The
defendant arrived in his pickup truck at the home where the
friend was staying and pulled into the driveway where the
homeowner's Chevrolet Cavalier automobile was already
parked. The friend entered the truck and the two men left.
Upon their return, the defendant backed his truck into the
driveway. When the friend got out of the truck, he noticed
that the Cavalier's hood was "pushed up" and
that it had been pushed back into a trailer. The friend waved
his arms to signal to the defendant, but the defendant
"just left." The defendant later admitted to the
friend and to an investigating police officer that he had
accidentally hit the Cavalier.
begin with the plain language of the statute.
International Fid. Ins. Co. v.
Wilson, 387 Mass. 841, 853 (1983). Clear and
unambiguous language is conclusive as to legislative intent.
Commissioner of Correction v.
Superior Court Dep't of the Trial Court for the
County of Worcester, 446 Mass. 123, 124 (2006) .
General Laws c. 90, § 24 (2) (a.), provides in part:
" Whoever upon any way or in any place to
which the public has a right of access, or any place to which
members of the public have access as invitees or licensees,
operates a motor vehicle recklessly, or operates such a
vehicle negligently so that the lives or safety of the public
might be endangered, or upon a bet or wager or in a race,
or  whoever operates a motor vehicle for the
purpose of making a record and thereby violates any provision
of [G. L. c. 90, § 17, ] or any regulation under [G. L.
c. 90, § 18], or  whoever without stopping
and making known his name, residence and the register
number of his motor vehicle goes away after knowingly
colliding with or otherwise causing injury to any other
vehicle or property, or  whoever loans or
knowingly permits his license or learner's permit to
operate motor vehicles to be used by any person, or 
whoever makes false statements in an application for
such a license or learner's permit, or 
whoever knowingly makes any false statement in an
application for registration of a motor vehicle or 
whoever while operating a motor vehicle in violation of
[G. L. c. 90, §] 8M, 12A or 13B, such violation proved
beyond a reasonable doubt, is the proximate cause of injury
to any other person, vehicle or property by operating said
motor vehicle negligently so that the lives or safety of the
public might be ...