By Dave Rogers
---- — WEST NEWBURY - A Haverhill man with seven prior drunken driving convictions dating back to 1973 will spend more than three years behind bars after pleading guilty to his eighth drunken driving charge last month in Salem Superior Court.
Carl V. Dionne, 58, of 18 Mulberry St, Haverhill, was arrested the day after Christmas by West Newbury police Officer Barry Coker on Main Street near Marshall Drive. At the station, Dionne blew a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit for impaired driving. In addition to OUI (eighth offense), Dionne was charged with operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license as to being a habitual traffic offender, driving drunk while license suspended for OUI and open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle.
According to West Newbury police, the arrest took place around 6 p.m. that evening and Dionne was the only person in the car.
According Essex County District Attorney spokesperson Carrie Kimball-Monahan, Dionne plead guilty on June 24 in Salem Superior Court to OUI fifth offense or subsequent offense and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license. Judge Howard Whitehead sentenced Dionne to two-and-a-half years, plus one day at MCI Cedar Junction for the OUI charge and two-and-a-half years in the Middleton House of Corrections with one year to be served after his prison term for operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license. The balance of his sentence was suspended for three years. Upon his release, he is to remain drug and alcohol free, submit to random screens and attend A.A. meetings.
As a result of the convictions, Dionne is expected to be banned from obtaining a driver’s license for the remainder of his life. According to West Newbury police, Dionne was first convicted of drunken driving in 1973 and was convicted six more times during the next 20 years.