CHICOPEE, Mass. (AP) – The motorist accused of causing a deadly tanker crash on Interstate 91 was ordered to surrender his driver’s license and submit to random drug and alcohol testing Friday after a prosecutor said he used cocaine the night before the accident.

Victor Aponte, 35, of Holyoke, was released on his own recognizance after pleading not guilty to charges of motor vehicle homicide, reckless operation of a motor vehicle and other violations in the March 28 crash.

Assistant District Attorney Mary Partyka said Aponte had ingested the contents of a $20 bag of powdered cocaine the night before. Aponte would not comment after leaving Chicopee District Court Friday.

Tanker driver Aaron Staelens, 43, of Richmond, N.H., died in the crash.

Prosecutors say Aponte caused a chain reaction accident that caused Staelens to veer into a guardrail.

His tanker truck, which was carrying more than 10,000 gallons of fuel, exploded into flames.


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