SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

January 3, 2013

Parents face charges in crash with child in car

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — PEABODY — The parents of a 4-year-old girl are both facing charges after they ignored a relative’s pleas not to drive, left a New Year’s Eve gathering and ended up crashing into a pole, with the child in the car.

Danielle Firth, 32, and Ronald Dominguez, 34, both of 5 Tanners Court, Peabody, had been at the home of Firth’s sister and had been drinking, the sister, Lisa Hill, told police.

Hill told police she invited them to sleep over and, when they declined the invitation, offered to call them a cab, but they insisted on driving home themselves, according to a police report.

Just before 1 a.m., Firth, allegedly at the wheel, crashed into a utility pole near 11 Perkins St.

As police approached the crash scene, they spotted Dominguez walking on Perkins Street, carrying the child. Both had blood on their faces.

“I’m taking my daughter home,” Dominguez told Patrolman Sean Dowd, according to Dowd’s report. “Leave me the (expletive) alone.”

Dominguez, who had cuts to his face, claimed to know nothing about an accident and then demanded that the officer stop shining a flashlight in his face.

As Dowd attempted to lead Dominguez back to the crash scene, Dominguez, still holding the girl, allegedly shoved and took a swing at the officer. Two other officers arrived. One of the officers, Patrolman James Dickinson, grabbed the girl, as Dowd struggled to get an uncooperative Dominguez into custody.

Dowd reported that he suffered back and shoulder injuries but did not require treatment.

Back at the scene of the crash, Firth was outside the car. Police noticed that she was slurring her words and said they smelled alcohol. They also noticed a bottle of Skyy vodka on the passenger seat. She told officers she had been driving the Honda Accord, then said she wanted to speak to an attorney.

As she was being arrested, her sister showed up at the scene.

The child was evaluated by an ambulance crew at the crash scene and then taken to North Shore Children’s Hospital, but was not believed to have any serious injuries. Firth was also taken to a hospital for treatment.

Police notified the Department of Children and Families, which is investigating.

Because Firth was taken to a hospital, police opted not to arrest her, instead saying they will seek a summons on charges of drunken driving, child endangerment while driving drunk, driving to endanger and failing to stay within marked lanes.

Dominguez was arrested at the scene and is facing charges of assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest, and disorderly conduct. He was also wanted on a default warrant for missing court appearances in a prior case.

Dominguez, who showed up an hour late to his arraignment yesterday, had been free on $250 bail set by a bail clerk on Tuesday, but was put back in custody after Peabody District Court Judge Matthew Nestor granted a prosecutor’s request to hike his bail to $1,000.

Prosecutor Aimee Conway noted Dominguez’s history of defaults and probation violations in prior cases, though his attorney, James Craig, said those recent cases were primarily minor vehicular charges.

Craig also said his client is “horrified” by the allegations and “has zero recollection” of the crash or what happened afterward.

Dominguez, a plumber’s apprentice who was recently laid off from his job, apologized to the judge for being late, saying he misunderstood the paperwork he received after his arrest.

As court officers led him across the courtroom to a holding dock, Dominguez called out, “Oh, God.”

He’s due back in court Jan. 30. An arraignment date has not been set for Firth.

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