GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

August 3, 2013

Rockport man guilty on 6th OUI charge

By James Niedzinski
Staff Writer

---- — A Salem Superior Court jury has found a Rockport man guilty of a sixth case of driving under the influence of alcohol, while also leaving the scene of an accident where a pedestrian was hit, all stemming from a crash in February 2011.

According to court records, Steven P. Pierce, who turned 53 Friday, was driving intoxicated in Rockport in February of 2011 when he struck a South Street man with his truck, then left the scene. The victim was transported from the scene to Addison Gilbert Hospital.

Pierce, who is due to face sentencing on Aug. 14, was released on $5,000 bail, is to have no contact with the person he struck with his truck, is required to attend multiple Alcoholics Anonymous meetings a week, is subjected to random drug and alcohol tests and was ordered to wear a monitoring device on his ankle, said Carrie Kimball Monahan, speaking for the office of Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett.

According to court records, it was on Feb. 13, 2011 and just before 6 p.m. that Rockport police received a call about a pickup truck driving on Thatcher Road without headlights and driving erratically.

“I observed it to be favoring the right side of the road almost coming in contact with the snow banks then jerking back quickly over to the left,” the 2011 police report from Sgt. Robert Tibert reads.

Pierce then struck the South Street man with the mirror of his truck, police said. But Pierce did not initially stop near his house on Warren Court until the police siren was sounding; he told police he did not see the blue police lights behind him.

The police report stated that Pierce had bloodshot eyes and a strong odor of alcohol, Pierce told police he had a couple of vodka drinks when asked.

He could not, however, perform field sobriety tests, police said.

”I then stepped back from him and started to explain the first test and he again started to fall off to the right side,” the report states.

As this continued, police charged him with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

According to court records, Pierce had a valid driver’s license at the time, despite having had five drunken driving arrests and five convictions since 1979. After the arrest, however, his license was revoked for life, a spokesman from the state’s Registry of Motor Vehicles confirmed Friday.

Pierce’s Gloucester-based attorney, Ed O’Reilly, raised a number of issues and tried to suppress statements made by Pierce.

Court documents show that O’Reilly’s motion to suppress statements made at the scene was denied, but his motion to suppress statements during the booking process was allowed.

Kimball Monahan said the jury deliberated for less than two hours before arriving at a guilty verdict for each charge.

In addition, Kimball Monahan said, the DA’s office will present evidence to prove other drunken driving offenses prior to his sentencing, as prior offenses may not be introduced in the original trial.

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at jniedzinski@gloucestertimes.com.