A MA driver is now facing criminal charges after crashing his vehicle into a park bench in Haverhill, injuring a 71-year-old man on August 31.
Angel Suarez, 66, of Methuen, was arraigned in Haverhill District Court on multiple charges stemming from the collision. The victim, Victor Welch of Haverhill, who was sleeping on the bench at the GAR park across the street from the public library, lost his finger and suffered injury to his hip, ribs, and shoulder, said police. The district attorney’s office has not explained why it took over four months to bring Suarez to court.
Police said Suarez was driving drunk at the time, and that he also hit the Korean War Memorial. Suarez paused for approximately 30 seconds before driving off, said Prosecutor Stephen Patten. Suarez traveled over the New Hampshire border into Newton, where his SUV went off the road and he was arrested, police said.
Newton police found Suarez’s pockets contained three receipts from a restaurant in Salem, showing he purchased six margaritas and three beers about an hour before his vehicle went off the road on Route 108 in Newton, said police. Suarez failed a field sobriety test and was charged with driving drunk. A breathalyzer test showed he had a blood alcohol level of .196. “Police had to hold him up” and he “was in total disbelief that he was in New Hampshire, according to Patten.
In Haverhill Wednesday, Suarez was arraigned on charges of aggravated assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and three counts of leaving the scene of property damage.
Robert Lewin, Suarez’s defense attorney, said his client accepted “full responsibility” by pleading guilty to drunken driving in New Hampshire and that he will be participating in a drunk driver education program in New Hampshire this week. Also, Suarez had his license revoked indefinitely in New Hampshire and Massachusetts, Lewin said.
Patten asked Judge Stephen Abany to hold Suarez on $10,000 cash bail, arguing that Suarez has a “real problem with alcohol.” Lewin argued that a high bail isn’t justified because Suarez showed up for all of his hearings in New Hampshire, cooperated with Newton police, and allowed Haverhill police to search his vehicle.
Judge Abany ordered Suarez to return to court on February 27 for a pretrial hearing.
Massachusetts Car and Pedestrian Accidents
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Source: Man charged with driving into park bench, injuring 71-year-old, www.eagletribune.com, January 17, 2013.