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Local News

March 8, 2014

Salem man gets two years for drunken driving

SALEM — It seems everyone likes Michael Conway: police officers, probation officers, his own family.

“Everybody likes you,” said Salem District Court Judge Matthew Machera.

That’s why, the judge said, he was perplexed at Conway’s repeated failures to obey the law or the terms of his many stints on probation.

Yesterday, Conway, 38, of 24 Putnam St., Salem, was found guilty of drunken driving by a Salem District Court jury. After admitting that it was his third drunken driving conviction, Conway was sentenced to two years in jail.

“I have a hard time wrapping my mind around it,” said Machera, noting that police officers describe Conway as a charming, affable guy — when he’s not abusing alcohol or drugs.

But around 1:30 a.m. on July 19 last year, he was under the influence, the jury found. An officer spotted a speeding Toyota on Union Street. The car turned onto Derby Street and disappeared; police found it, and Conway, a short time later behind the Brothers Deli.

At the time Conway’s license had been revoked as a habitual traffic offender, prosecutor Alex Grimes reminded the judge during sentencing.

His prior convictions for driving under the influence were in 2000 and 2002. Both times, he ended up serving time because of probation violations, Grimes said.

Grimes suggested that Conway’s record confirms he doesn’t do well on probation. He asked for the maximum sentence of 21/2 years on the drunken driving charge, and a suspended sentence and five years of probation on the charge of driving after his license was suspended.

Steven Reardon, Conway’s lawyer, admitted that his client’s record is “lengthy,” but said he had recently been doing well on probation. He described Conway’s work as a carpenter and how he supports his young daughter.

Reardon asked for a sentence with some jail time, no more than a year, and some probation.

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