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Marina Keegan: Yale graduate's boyfriend faces charges in crash

June 22, 2012|By Laura J. Nelson
  • Marina Keegan died in a car crash while her boyfriend, Michael Gocksch, was driving. He is facing charges in the incident.
Marina Keegan died in a car crash while her boyfriend, Michael Gocksch,… (Keegan family )

A New York man is facing charges in the Cape Cod crash that killed his girlfriend, Marina Keegan, a budding writer whose final words on friendship and the opportunity of youth gained national attention.

Michael Gocksch, 22, of Centerport, N.Y., has been summoned in Massachusetts for a hearing on charges that include motor vehicle homicide by reckless operation, the Associated Press reported. The Massachusetts State Police did not return requests for comment.

Keegan, 22, died in a rollover on Route 6, the highway that follows the curve of Cape Cod, as Gocksch drove her to her father’s birthday dinner. The 1997 Lexus drifted off the road, hit a guardrail and flipped twice, according to a police statement at the time of the accident. Both Keegan and Gocksch were wearing seat belts. Gocksch sustained minor injuries.

Keegan's father has said that Gocksch fell asleep at the wheel. An initial police statement said speed did not appear to be a factor in the severity of the accident, the Boston Globe reported.

The hearing is scheduled for July 5 in Orleans (Mass.) District Court. If a magistrate who reviews the filing finds probable cause, a criminal complaint will be issued and an arraignment will be scheduled, the Cape Cod Times reported.

The couple had graduated from Yale University together days earlier.

“We don’t have a word for the opposite of loneliness, but if we did, I could say that’s what I want in life,” Keegan wrote in her final column for the Yale Daily News, posted online after her death. “What I’m grateful and thankful to have found at Yale, and what I’m scared of losing when we wake up tomorrow and leave this place.”

Keegan had taken a job as an editorial assistant at the New Yorker. Jack Hitt, who would have been her colleague, recalled his emotions when meeting her.

“I was elated by a rare feeling — the certainty that I had met a future associate, someone I would enjoy knowing and reading for the rest of my life,” Hitt wrote. “…For her family and friends, the grief is intimate and personal. But for some in our field — producers and editors, reporters and writers — the loss of Marina is a different kind of tragedy. We lost a talent before we got to know her.”

Gocksch and Keegan became friends after she beat him in the election for president of the College Democrats, the Globe said. Gocksch has remained close with the Keegan family after the accident.

“I told him that he needs to embrace life, and live life to the fullest, because that’s what Marina would want,” her father, Kevin Keegan, told the Globe. “She loved him, and that’s what’s getting us through, even after she’s gone.”

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Follow Laura on Twitter. Email: laura.nelson@latimes.com

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