By Julie Manganis
---- — BEVERLY — A Beverly man who was found passed out at the wheel of his car in the right lane of Route 128 south early yesterday is being held without bail on what prosecutors say is at least his fourth drunken-driving charge.
Brian Sadler, 37, of 32 Colgate Road, Beverly, pleaded not guilty to a charge of drunken driving during his arraignment yesterday in Salem District Court, where Judge Matthew Machera, after a brief hearing, concluded that Sadler posed too great a danger to the public to release under any conditions.
Wenham and Manchester police found Sadler in his car just after 12:30 a.m. yesterday. In the console was a glass containing an unknown liquid that police suspected to be an alcoholic drink.
When officers woke him up, Sadler told them he was on his way home from Gloucester, where he had gone to see a friend’s band.
Police say Sadler smelled “strongly” of alcohol. He went on to fail a series of field sobriety tests and was arrested. His car was towed.
Police later found a box containing less than an ounce of marijuana and a smoking pipe during an inventory search.
“I find these facts troublesome,” said Machera. “He’s asleep in the travel lane of a major highway.”
According to police and court records, Sadler had two drunken-driving cases in Massachusetts in 1994, another in 1995, and one in 2002 in Oregon. Prosecutor Tom Sholds told a judge yesterday that police are looking into whether he has another conviction in Maine.
Defense lawyer Mark McNally urged the judge to release Sadler, who runs an energy audit program for the Malden community service agency Tri-City.
But Machera told the lawyer, “I find there is no other alternative” but to hold Sadler without bail.
A pretrial conference is scheduled for June 4.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.