LOWELL — Evan Robitaille, a former Andover patrolman who resigned from the force in October following an internal investigation over allegations of drunken driving, pleaded not guilty to those and other charges in District Court Friday, according to news reports.
The 32-year-old Groveland resident was in Lowell District Court on Friday to face charges of driving under the influence of liquor, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of property damage and a state highway violation, the Lowell Sun reported in its Saturday editions.
Neither Robitaille nor his attorney, Milton Cranney of Andover, could be reached for comment. Robitaille was released on his own recognizance.
The plea is the latest in a series of legal steps Robitaille has gone through since an accident at 9:30 a.m. on March 11, when he allegedly rear-ended a box-truck on I-495 South in Tewksbury and then took off, exiting the highway in a Honda Pilot at Woburn Street (Exit 37).
According to court documents obtained by the Sun, Robitaille was confronted by a witness in a nearby Gulf/Dunkin’ Donuts complex in Lowell. He was also allegedly witnessed by people in the complex who are reported to have told investigators that Robitaille appeared intoxicated. Lowell police took Robitaille to a McDonald’s restaurant on Route 38, according to the documents, and had his car towed to Elm Street Automotive in Andover, the Sun reported.
The documents also shed light on Andover’s response to the incident. Officer Daniel Devine allegedly told his superiors that he was on a break from a detail when he received a call from Robitaille asking him to pick him up, the Sun reported. Devine allegedly said that Robitaille was incoherent, court documents state.
Devine drove Robitaille to the Elm Street Automative complex.
Once at Elm Street Automotive, the owner told police Robitaille retrieved a bottle of liquor and began to drink, the Sun reported. The owner of the station contacted Andover Police Lt. Edward Guy.
Guy responded to Elm Street Automotive and met with Robitaille, who allegedly appeared disheveled, emitted a strong odor of alcohol and the smell of vomit, and his speech was slurred, according to court documents. Robitaille was driven to his Groveland home and his weapons were secured pending an internal investigation.
Following the March 11 incident, Robitaille was put on paid administrative leave, according to Andover police Commander Charles Heseltine. However, “as a result of the internal affairs investigation, on Oct. 18, Officer Robitaille was placed on administrative leave without pay,” Heseltine said.
On Nov. 25, Robitaille resigned.