, Salem, MA

Local News

March 20, 2013

Man again fails alcohol test, is returned to jail

SALEM — An alleged drunken boater who last week blamed toothpaste for a positive result on a home alcohol monitor is back in custody after again failing a random test on the device.

Now, Bradford Billings Smith, 43, of Salem will spend at least a week at Middleton Jail, until his privately hired attorney is available.

Smith, who has two prior drunken-driving convictions, was charged with a third offense of operating under the influence, in this case, a boat, after careening around Salem Harbor, colliding with a sailboat and then running aground on a shoal near Veterans Memorial Bridge on July 31.

He was initially held without bail at Middleton Jail, then released in August to a six-month alcohol treatment program.

Last month, he was sent home with a device called the “Sobrietor” and an order not to drink.

Prosecutors and a probation officer last week urged Salem District Court Judge Sabita Singh to revoke Smith’s release after a pair of tests showed results of 0.038 and 0.039.

But Smith’s lawyer argued that the machine was defective and that Smith had just brushed his teeth when he took the tests, and blamed the toothpaste for triggering a positive result. Singh released Smith and advised him to purchase alcohol-free toothpaste.

Yesterday, probation officer Mark Medina was in front of a different judge when he presented test results that showed a blood alcohol level of 0.078 and 0.079 on Monday night.

Judge Robert Brennan granted the request by Medina and prosecutor Alex Grimes to put Smith back in custody.

Brennan offered Smith a chance to have a hearing with a court-appointed lawyer yesterday, but Smith declined, saying he would prefer to wait until his own attorney is available, even if it means more than a week in jail.

A hearing is scheduled for March 27.

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

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