By Bill Kirk
---- — NORTH ANDOVER — A star player on the North Andover High School basketball team faces a charge of driving under the influence of liquor, as well as several other charges, after he rolled the Jeep Grand Cherokee he was driving in a field off Johnson Street Friday night with four other teenage passengers.
Brendan Miller, 17, of 345 Candlestick Road, is being summonsed by the North Andover Police Department on charges of operating under the influence of liquor, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, marked lanes violation and being a person under the age of 21 in possession of liquor.
Four other youths who were in the vehicle will also be summonsed on charges of being in possession of liquor under the age of 21. The names of those teens, two of whom are 15 and two of whom are 16, were not released by police because they are juveniles. One of the 15-year-olds is a girl.
Miller was taken to Lawrence General Hospital for treatment. He was released on Saturday, according to a hospital spokeswoman. One other person was hurt, but the extent of injuries and identity of the victim were not released.
Miller, a junior at North Andover High School, is one of the stars of the Scarlet Knights basketball team, which is the midst of a heated playoff run. Miller and another player were unavailable to play in Sunday’s win over Concord-Carlisle in the Division 2 North quarterfinals.
When asked Sunday about their absence, and whether they would be available to play in the next playoff game, scheduled for tomorrow against Wakefield, Coach Mike McVeigh said only, “it’s out of my hands.”
Athletics director Jon Longley and Superintendent Kevin Hutchinson did not return phone calls for comment.
When asked yesterday about Miller, McVeigh said, he had “no comment at all” and was busy preparing for tomorrow night’s Div. 2 semi-final game against Wakefield.
According to a police statement and police activity logs from Friday and Saturday, at 10:46 p.m. Friday police got a call from a resident at 31 Jay Road who said the victim of an accident had walked into the house. Police arrived and found that the Jeep had actually driven off the road at 637 Johnson St. and rolled over into a grassy area.
Officers on scene requested thermal imaging to help track down the suspects in the crash - all of whom fled.
A State Police helicopter was also requested, and the Essex County Sheriff’s Department offered to bring its K-9 patrol to track the suspects, according to police logs.
An investigating officer said in the police log that the driver gave the names of the passengers.
“Those subjects will be checked on,” according to the police log.
Police did eventually track down the other four people in the car and have issued summonses for them for underage drinking.
The car was towed by Coady’s in Lawrence.
Activity at 637 Johnson St. continued over the next day or so. Police were called out at 2:56 a.m. Saturday for a report of someone in the field near the scene of the accident with a flashlight. Police spoke to a man, who turned out to be the father of one of the accident victims, who said he wanted to see the accident scene.
At 8:47 a.m., a car was stopped at 637 Johnson St. and teenagers were seen walking around the accident site. Police told them to leave.