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May 29, 2013

Boater in crash convicted of drunken boating

SALEM, Mass. — A Salem man arrested last summer after running aground on Lobster Rock in Salem Harbor has been found guilty of drunken boating.

A Salem District Court jury convicted Bradford Billings Smith, 44, of 45 Memorial Drive, of the charge, along with a second count, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, following a trial last Tuesday.

Judge Emily Karstetter sentenced Smith to serve six months of an 18-month jail term.

Smith was arrested after the July 2012 incident that led to his rescue by the Salem harbormaster, who had to pull a reluctant Smith off of his stranded, 25-foot motorboat after Smith refused to leave it.

Police said at the time that Smith had struck a 37-foot sailboat moored near Beverly, then continued careening around the harbor until he hit the rocks near the Beverly-Salem Bridge.

When officers caught up with him, he was attempting to back the boat off the rocks.

An officer testified at a hearing earlier this year that Smith yelled for the harbormaster to tow him off the shoal. But that would have been too dangerous, the harbormaster concluded.

The officers noted Smith’s unsteadiness on his feet.

Smith’s lawyer, Mark Barry, had argued that Smith was not intoxicated but simply suffering a case of “sea legs” after spending a day on the waves.

Smith has already served much of his sentence while awaiting trial; in March, he was ordered held in custody after violating the terms of his bail by testing positive for alcohol. He will be eligible for parole after serving at least three months.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.




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