EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Haverhill

January 17, 2013

Man charged with driving into park bench, injuring 71-year-old

Charges come 4 months after crash at GAR Park

(Continued)

Prosecutor Stephen Patten said that after Suarez’s SUV struck the park bench, injuring Victor Welch of Haverhill, the SUV hit the Korean War Memorial. Patten said that according to witnesses, Suarez then paused for about 30 seconds before driving away.

“Not only did he strike the bench, he shattered the bench,” Patten said during yesterday’s hearing.

Patten said that after Suarez drove away from GAR Park, Newton police received a report of a vehicle off the road and went to the scene. There, they found Suarez. He failed a field sobriety test and was charged with drunken driving, police said. According to a Newton police report, Suarez agreed to a Breathalyzer test, which showed a blood alcohol level of .196.

“Police had to hold him up,” Patten said about field sobriety tests that were conducted by Newton police and which police said Suarez failed. “In addition, the defendant was in total disbelief that he was in New Hampshire.”

Patten asked Judge Stephen Abany to hold Suarez on $10,000 cash bail saying he has a “real problem with alcohol.”

Lewin said Suarez accepted “full responsibility” by pleading guilty to drunken driving in New Hampshire and that he is scheduled to begin a drunk driver education program this week in New Hampshire. Lewin said Suarez’s license to drive was revoked in New Hampshire and Massachusetts for an indefinite period.

Lewin said Suarez, a native of Ecuador who served in the army there, is a U.S. citizen, and that he obtained degrees in physics and mathematics and is retired from work in the high-tech field. Lewin argued against holding Suarez on high bail, saying he showed up for all of his hearings in New Hampshire, that he cooperated with Newton police and gave permission to Haverhill police to search his vehicle.

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