By Mark E. Vogler
---- — LAWRENCE — Police arrested City Clerk William J. Maloney for drunk driving last night after his 2005 Nissan Maxima collided with another car at the intersection of South Union and Kent streets shortly before 8 p.m.
“As soon as it happened, I called 911 because I knew something was wrong with him,” Christian Pinargote, 20, Lawrence, said of the accident that sent his teal-colored 1993 Honda Civic crashing through a chain link fence and into the porch at 534 S. Union St.
“He was flashing his lights and tailgating me down South Union Street before I pulled over to let him pass. I turned onto Kent Street and he decided to brake and turn the same way without any signals. Then he hit me and I lost control of the car,” he said.
When Lawrence police Sgt. Michael Simard arrived at the scene of the accident, he observed that Maloney “appeared unsteady on his feet,” Lawrence Police Chief John Romero said when contacted by a reporter last night.
“A field sobriety test was conducted at the scene and he failed it,” Romero said.
Police charged Maloney, 56, of 17 Cutler St., Lawrence, with operating under the influence of alcohol second offense and a marked lane violation. Records show he had a previous arrest for OUI in 1993 prosecuted in Newburyport District Court.
Maloney was released on $40 cash bail last night and was expected to be arraigned in Lawrence District Court today.
Police estimated the damage to fence and porch at 534 S. Union St. to be several thousand dollars.
“There was considerable structural damage to the porch,” Romero said.
Sgt. Simard requested backup assistance. Sgt. Robert DiBenedetto responded to the call, according to Romero.
Pinargote told police that Maloney wouldn’t cooperate when he attempted to exchange driver information with him after the accident.
“I was asking for his license, and he said ‘no, give me yours first’,” Pinargote told The Eagle-Tribune
“He wouldn’t give me any information. He ended up calling his lawyer who showed up,” he said.
Pinargote said he observed Maloney to be staggering and incoherent at the accident scene, an observation corroborated by Sgt. Simard.
Police reported no injuries in last night’s accident. Pinargote and his girlfriend were headed north on South Union Street when they noticed Maloney’s white Nissan Maxima driving erratically behind them, they told police.
“I had just come from the hospital and was in a little pain,” Pinargote said last night.
“My two fenders, my passengers door and drivers side door and the whole front end and passenger’s side of the car is damaged,” he said.
Maloney became city clerk in September of 2004. He is a lifelong Lawrence resident and has been licensed to practice law in Massachusetts since December 1986.