SALISBURY — A Haverhill man's decision to ignore road barricades and signs in Salisbury last June landed him in jail for nine months after admitting he was driving without a valid license for at least the fourth time. 

Christopher LaValley, 36, pleaded guilty via video conference to the charge Thursday in Newburyport District Court. Judge William Martin disregarded a prosecutor's recommendation that LaValley be imprisoned for a year and instead settled on a nine-month sentence. 

LaValley had pushed for a six-month sentence, but when the judge offered him nine months, LaValley accepted the deal. 

Essex County prosecutor Erin McAndrews said the year-long sentence was warranted based on LaValley's criminal record, which included three prior operating-after-suspension offenses and a drunken driving-related conviction that resulted in an 18-month sentence.

She also said the nature of the June 20 incident, in which LaValley jeopardized the safety of others when he disregarded road closure signs and barricades near the Salisbury Beach Reservation, warranted a stiffer penalty. 

"This just wasn't him getting pulled over," McAndrews said.

 

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