, Salem, MA

Local News

June 13, 2013

Drunken joyrider gets prison sentence

Salem man to serve eight to nine years, lose license

PEABODY — A serial drunken-driving car thief from Salem will serve eight to nine years in state prison after pleading guilty to his two latest joyrides, one of which will also lead to the lifetime loss of his license.

Peter Nawn, 47, pleaded guilty yesterday afternoon in Salem Superior Court to two separate incidents in a four-month span in 2011 — shortly after his release from prison for another drunken joyride in a stolen car.

Judge David Lowy suggested that Nawn use his time behind bars, to be followed by 10 years of probation, to get counseling to figure out why he drinks and how to stop.

“When you get out, you’re not going to have a driver’s license for the rest of your life,” Lowy told Nawn. “You’ve let alcohol define you.”

Nawn had recently completed a five- to seven-year term for drunken driving in a stolen car in Newburyport in 2005 when, on the morning of June 23, 2011, he showed up at a Meineke muffler shop on the Lynnway and hopped into a gray Cadillac that was there for service.

Prosecutor Karen Hopwood said the employee had left the Caddy running for just a moment while he went inside the business. A worker from the shop chased the stolen car down the Lynnway through rush-hour traffic, but lost sight of it.

At the intersection of Union and Chestnut streets, Nawn collided with a truck. He continued driving, then eventually left the car behind Lynn English High School and ran away on foot.

A state trooper spotted him a short while later.

Just a few months later, while he was out on bail in that case, Nawn was caught on surveillance video, shimmying under a fence at Malia’s Towing in Peabody on Oct. 18, 2011, just before 11 p.m.

Fifteen minutes later, he is seen on the video climbing into a Toyota Scion and driving the vehicle through the locked gate, damaging both the gate and the front end of the car, said the prosecutor.

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