EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 14, 2014

Police: Drunken driver hospitalized

He crashed into oncoming traffic, report says

By Mike LaBella
mlabella@eagletribune.com

---- — GROVELAND — Police said a Haverhill man who crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic on Salem Street and crashed into another vehicle was so sick from drinking vodka that he had to be hospitalized before going to court.

A breathalyzer test showed he had a blood alcohol level of .24 — three times the legal limit.

Groveland police charged Sean Purdy, 35, of 29 Hartswood Drive, Haverhill, with operating under the influence of liquor, marked lanes violation and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

According to a police report on file in Haverhill District Court, Groveland officers were dispatched to a crash at 938 Salem St. involving two vehicles about 7 a.m. on Feb. 27.

Police Deputy Chief Jeffrey Gillen notified Officer Joshua Sindoni to retrieve a breathalyzer machine from the police station.

The report said Purdy was driving south on Salem Street when he crossed the double yellow lines into oncoming traffic and collided with a Honda CRV driven by a 51-year-old woman, who was not injured in the crash.

The report said Purdy’s eyes were bloodshot and glassy and that he gave off a strong odor of alcohol and was unsteady on his feet.

Purdy told Gillen that he was drinking vodka until about 3 a.m. that morning, police said. The report said Purdy was unable to complete field sobriety tests and that a breathalyzer test showed he had a blood alcohol level of .233. A second test administered a short time later showed a level of .241, police said.

Police searched Purdy’s vehicle and said they found several empty vodka bottles, including one on the passenger seat with some liquid in it.

Purdy was arrested. During the trip to the Groveland Police Station, he told police that he was a “functioning alcoholic” and asked if the station’s holding cells had toilets because he was going to vomit, according to the report. He also told the officer that he experienced tremors and seizures when he had no alcohol in his system, according to the report.

Purdy was booked after vomiting into a trash can, police said. He was then taken to Merrimack Valley Hospital.

Purdy was scheduled to be arraigned the next day in Haverhill District Court, but due to a shortage of judges, his hearing was postponed to March 7. At his arraignment that day, a judge released Purdy on personal recognizance and issued a 60-day warning, meaning if he is charged with another offense while his case is pending he could be ordered held for up to 60 days without bail.

A pretrial hearing was scheduled for March 31.