EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

May 24, 2013

City clerk admits to drinking two whiskeys before crash

William Maloney recorded a .18 blood-alcohol-content level

By Brian Messenger
bmessenger@eagletribune.com

---- — LAWRENCE — Police say City Clerk William J. Maloney recorded a blood-alcohol-content level of .18 percent and admitted to drinking “two whiskeys” before crashing his 2005 Nissan Maxima into another vehicle Wednesday night on South Union Street.

According to a police report, homeowner Robert Laskey was inside 534 S. Union St. about 7:45 when he heard a loud noise. He went outside to find a Honda Civic in his yard and his fence and porch heavily damaged.

“Laskey informed me that he thought that the driver of the Maxima was drinking,” wrote Lawrence Sgt. Michael Simard.

Maloney, 56, of 17 Cutler St., was arraigned yesterday in Lawrence District Court on charges of operating under the influence of alcohol (second offense) and a marked lane violation.

He was released on $40 cash bail Wednesday night following his arrest. He went before Judge Kevin Gaffney yesterday without an attorney and was ordered not to drive unless properly licensed. He must remain alcohol and drug free and submit to random screenings and faces 60 days in jail for failure to meet the bail conditions. A pretrial hearing is scheduled July 11.

Maloney declined comment outside the courtroom yesterday. Records show he was arrested for OUI in 1993. The case was prosecuted in Newburyport District Court and continued without a finding, according to an arrest report.

Maloney became Lawrence city clerk in September 2004. He is a lifelong Lawrence resident and has been licensed to practice law in Massachusetts since December 1986.

According to the arrest report, Sgt. Simard spoke with Maloney at the scene and noticed he was “unsteady on his feet, had slurred speech and had the smell of alcohol on his breath.”

“I asked Maloney what he had to drink, and he replied ‘two whiskeys,’” wrote Simard.

Simard wrote that Maloney was eventually accompanied at the crash scene by his lawyer, Bob Kelley.

Maloney proceeded to fail field sobriety tests and was arrested, according to the report. At the police station, Maloney agreed to take a breathalyzer test and recorded a blood-alcohol-content level of .18 percent. The legal limit is .08 percent.

Maloney told Simard he was cut off by a Honda Civic as he attempted to turn onto Kent Street from South Union Street. But the driver of the Civic, Christian Pinargote, 20, of Lawrence, told police a different story.

Simard arrived at 534 S. Union St. to find the Civic “inside the front yard and up against the front of the house/porch.”

“The fence was toppled and the shrubs were heavily damaged,” Simard wrote.

Pinargote told Simard he was driving south on Winthrop Avenue with his girlfriend when they noticed the Maxima “weaving between lanes and flashing its high beams” behind them.

Pinargote and his girlfriend became nervous and pulled over on South Union Street near the Hess gas station to allow the Maxima to pass. After doing so, they attempted to take a left onto Kent Street. That’s when the Maxima made a sudden stop in front of them and attempted to make “a wide left turn” onto Kent Street, according to the report.

“This maneuver by the Maxima, they claim, caused both vehicles to collide and cause their Honda to leave the road and crash through the fence and crash into the house,” wrote Simard.

After the crash, Pinargote told Simard that Maloney repeatedly asked, “Is anybody hurt?” But Maloney refused to share his name or insurance information with Pinargote, who believed Maloney was drunk, according to the report.

Pinargote told The Eagle-Tribune that his vehicle’s front end, entire passenger side, driver’s side door and two fenders were damaged in the crash. Police estimate the damage to the fence and porch to be several thousand dollars.