, Salem, MA

Local News

October 19, 2013

Driver without license offers excuse: 'I'm blind'

SALEM — The question put to Gregory Tobey during his arraignment on charges of driving after his license was suspended wasn’t all that unusual. But Tobey’s answer was.

“When are you going to get your license reinstated?” Judge Michael Lauranzano asked Tobey, 53.

“I can’t,” Tobey replied.

“Why not?” asked Lauranzano.

“I’m blind,” Tobey replied.

During the brief hearing, the Salem District Court judge also learned that it’s not the first time that Tobey, who is legally blind, has been caught driving anyway. A prosecutor moved to amend the complaint to indicate that it was a subsequent offense.

Salem police Sgt. William Jennings found Tobey, of 33 Harbor St., at the wheel of a red Ford pickup truck blocking the intersection of Hawthorne Boulevard, Congress Street and Derby Street. He was yelling at some pedestrians trying to cross the street early on the evening of July 28, according to a police report.

When asked for his driver’s license, Tobey admitted that it had been revoked, according to the report.

He was not arrested at the scene. Instead, he was sent a citation, which brought him to court on Thursday to face the charge.

During the hearing, Tobey was appointed a lawyer, and a pretrial hearing was scheduled for Dec. 18.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.

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