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Merrimack Valley

December 23, 2013

Serial drunken driver avoids jail

Stefanilo hasn't had license since 1995

PEABODY — It was a record-breaking hot day on July 19 in Boston, with the temperature officially reaching 99 degrees that afternoon.

Around quarter past two, a Malden woman’s 2006 Nissan sedan was struck from behind by a 2013 GMC canteen truck on Alford Street in Charlestown, causing heavy damage.

Boston police treated it as a routine fender-bender, citing the owner of the truck for driving after license suspension.

But the driver of the truck, Charles Stefanilo, hasn’t had a license in years, not since at least 1995.

It was revoked for life in 2005, after Stefanilo pleaded guilty to drunken driving — his 17th such conviction since 1977, according to court and Registry of Motor Vehicles records.

Stefanilo, 57, who lists addresses in Peabody and Medford, is believed to be among the worst serial drunken drivers in Massachusetts.

In 2005, he was sentenced by Judge Peter Agnes to a total of five years in jail — not state prison, as Essex County prosecutors requested — for driving drunk in Peabody in 2004. Another two years of jail time was suspended, and Stefanilo was placed on 25 years of probation, with a condition that he not drive.

And while he hasn’t been charged with drunken driving since, he has at least twice flouted the condition that bars him from getting behind the wheel.

Both times, he was driving a canteen truck, which he uses for his business, “Charlie’s Catering.”

Despite that, two judges have now declined to impose the suspended two-year jail term for being a habitual traffic offender that Agnes, then a Salem Superior Court judge, left hanging over his head for the duration of an unusual 25-year probation.

Last Monday, during a hearing in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn, Stefanilo represented himself in a hearing on whether the July accident was a violation of his probation, court records show.

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