EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


February 22, 2013

Man charged in crash fails to appear in court


Several weeks after the accident, Copeland’s wife, Eva Valentine, said “two miracles” occurred when her husband crashed his truck.

She said he wasn’t wearing his seat belt and that he was lucky to have survived. Firefighters had to use an extraction tool to remove Copeland from the truck. She also said it was a miracle that he didn’t end up a quadriplegic. Copeland’s injuries included a fractured C5, C6 and C7 vertebrae, a shattered left knee, femur and tibia, a broken right leg femur, three fractured ribs, lacerated forehead and a bruised liver, Valentine said.

Police said both vehicles received front-end damage in the crash, which was reported at 2:05 p.m., and that a state police accident reconstruction team assisted in the investigation. No charges were filed at that time, according to police.

Copeland said that on the afternoon of Dec. 24 he had just delivered a box of Christmas lights to a friend on North Broadway and was on his way back to his home when the crash happened. He said he was not driving drunk as police allege he was.

“It is my contention that it wasn’t even me that hit them, and that they hit me,” Copeland said about the Foleys.

Copeland said it was several months after the accident that he received citations in the mail.

Court officials said that if found guilty of OUI causing serious bodily injury, Copeland faces up to 10 years in state prison, with minimum mandatory House of Correction sentence of 6 months. For a charge of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon on a person over 60, he faces up to 10 years in state prison. For assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, he faces up to 15 years in state prison.

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