SALEM — At 63, Steven Hyland has a bad heart and his kidneys are shot, requiring dialysis three times a week.
In spite of all that, Hyland, of Beverly, was still drinking daily, he admitted on the witness stand yesterday in his trial in Salem District Court on charges of fourth-offense drunken driving and leaving the scene of an accident.
Now, he’s at Middleton Jail, after it took a jury less than 20 minutes to find him guilty on both charges, stemming from an accident in February 2013.
It took just a few minutes more for Judge Robert Brennan to find that it’s his fourth conviction, after prosecutor Patrick Collins handed him records of drunken-driving convictions for arrests in 1984, 1986 and 1987.
Brennan sentenced Hyland to two years in jail on the drunken driving charge and a concurrent four years of probation on the charge of leaving the scene of the crash he caused at the corner of School and North streets in Salem on the morning of Feb. 21, 2013.
When he gets out of jail, Hyland will be required to attend five Alcoholics Anonymous meetings a week.
“To me sir, that’s at the root of all your problems,” Brennan said. “You’ve spent pretty much your whole life in and out of here, pretty much stemming from alcohol abuse.”
On the witness stand in his own defense, Hyland said that like every other day before his arrest, he began drinking at 5 a.m. with either a “shot” or a “belt” of brandy.
After drinking from a bottle that he had in his car, he walked his dogs, then decided to head out to do some errands, he said.
While turning from North Street onto School Street in Salem around 11:30 a.m. Hyland’s pickup truck hit the car of a woman stopped at a traffic light.