Sean G., 20, of Roslindale (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) was out for a drive early Wednesday morning. Normally, that might not pose so much of a problem. However, this time was different.
You see, according to the police, the Defendant was drunk. Upon further investigation, he was apparently not even supposed to be driving the car in the first place.
However, the Defendant’s real problems began when the police took notice of the gray sedan in Holliston, Massachusetts.
According to Police Sgt. George Leurini, the Defendant was seen driving the sedan on Route 126 traveling over the posted speed limit. The Speed limit was 25 miles per hour – the Defendant was going 39 mph. Sgt. Leuini turned on his siren.
Apparently, this confused the Defendant as he neither stopped nor slowed down; he sped up. Now, instead of the 39 mph, he accelerated to 70 mph.
The police car gave chase.
Perhaps quizzical as to why 70 mph was not enough to satisfy the police, the Defendant kept accelerating until it became a high speed chase at speeds of 100 mph.
The chase may have begun with a siren, but it ended with a crash.
The Defendant crashed into the curb at the intersection of Washington and Hollis streets, near 747 Washington Street.
“As I approached the crash, I stopped behind the vehicle,” Leurini wrote. “I then observed two occupants fleeing the vehicle. Not knowing the circumstances, I drew my weapon and ordered both parties on the ground.”
The passenger, James D., 21, ( the “Passenger”) stopped, but the Defendant kept running.
“The passenger was requesting medical attention,” Leurini said. “He was going in and out of consciousness.”
Several other Holliston officers, as well as an officer from Sherborn, searched for the Defendant.
Police found him on Green Street.
“After speaking to him briefly, I had detected a strong odor of alcoholic beverage coming from his general area/body,” Leurini wrote in his affidavit filed in Framingham District Court.
Just after 1:00 a.m., the Defendant was awarded the Commonwealth Bracelets of Shame and invited to one of the Commonwealth’s vacation homes.
First, however, both the Defendant and the Passenger were taken to MetroWest Medical Center’s Framingham Union campus to be treated for minor injuries, according Sgt. Leurini.
The car was owned by Melissa B., 22, of Milford (hereinafter, the “Owner”). She told the police that she had given the Passenger permission to drive the car, but never said the Defendant could drive it.
And so it was that today’s Defendant found himself before the court where he now faces charges of operating under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, using a vehicle without authority, disturbing the peace, driving negligently as to endanger, failing to stop for police and driving with an open container of liquor. He was also cited for speeding, failing to wear a seat belt and making a marked lanes violation.
The Defendant pleaded not guilty at his arraignment, and was released without bail.
Let’s hope he did not grab someone else’s car and drive home.
The first lesson of “The Defendant’s Wild Ride” is an obvious one. It is one we have discussed many times in this daily blog. When the police are signaling you to pull over, avoid membership to the “Hey, I’ll Bet I Can Make This Worse” club. My free legal advice here is not terribly complicated.
Do not accelerate, run, jump, hide, fight, fly or anything else to get away. You won’t get away. You will just make your situation far worse.
Oh – by the way – driving drunk is not a great idea either.
Given that he was released without bail (which is, frankly, surprising given the chase), it is likely that the Defendant did not have a prior record. Or, at least, a minimal one. So, let’s look at an alternative scenario – one assuming he was a regular reader of this daily blog and took its advice to heart.
Let’s assume that the Defendant was speeding and he was, indeed, intoxicated. Now, the police hit the siren and, this time, the Defendant simply pulls over. Very possibly, given the limited exposure, the Sgt. would not have suspected the intoxication and simply given a ticket for the speeding. Let’s push it to the limit, though. Let’s say the officer did determine the Defendant to be drunk.
The likely result? Passenger drives the car the rest of the way and the Defendant is either given a summons to come to court or he is arrested and, the next day, faces charges of OUI first offense. Period. The most likely result would be something called a Continuance Without A Finding (which could end up as a dismissal) and having to go to a drunk driving program. Second offense? Very likely a treatment facility and a Guilty finding.
Now compare this to what actually did happen. The Defendant is very likely facing a jail sentence. At the very least, if found guilty, he is going to be receiving some rather striking criminal convictions on his record.
Then there is the civil liability. Here, should Passenger be injured, he will sue the Defendant. Owner is also likely to look to recover the damages to her car from the Defendant. Any owner of the damage the resulting accident caused will likely be looking to the Defendant.
By the way, the Defendant is not the only potential liable party here. The Owner may also be found responsible, although she claims she did not give him permission to drive, for damage cause.
The charges listed above may also not be the full criminal charges the Defendant will face. For example, he is really entitled to two different charges of leaving the scene of an accident – one for the property damage and the other for personal injury.
Do you think the Defendant made the situation a bit worse? Believe it or not, it looks like the way the event took place, he was actually alittle lucky. Lucky that no innocent bystander outside the car was hurt or killed. Lucky that neither he nor the Passenger were killed. And yes, very lucky he was not held on high bail.
Have a good and law abiding weekend!
Samuel Goldberg is the senior criminal defense attorney at the firm of Altman & Altman, P.C. A former prosecutor in New York, he has worked as a Boston defense attorney over 18 years. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network
The full article of this story can be found at http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/news/x2067099695/Boston-man-arrested-after-high-speed-chase-in-Holliston