, Salem, MA

Local News

December 3, 2013

Driver gets 4 years for DUI fatality

SALEM — Almost a year after her drunken driving caused a deadly collision on Essex Avenue, Rebecca A. Jacques pleaded guilty in court to charges that included motor vehicular homicide. A Superior Court judge, accepting her plea, sentenced her to four years in prison.

As a clerk magistrate read off the charges — assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, a vehicle, leading to death; drunken and negligent driving that caused death; drunken, reckless and negligent driving causing serious bodily injury to a rear seat passenger; assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, again a vehicle; causing injury to the rear seat passenger; and a subsequent offense of driving after a license suspension — Jacques, 53, pleaded guilty to each, her face reddening as she tucked her chin and exhaled short audible breaths.

Jacques, of Gloucester, lifted a cuffed hand to wipe tears as Judge Howard Whitehead acknowledged the consequence of her drunken driving, the death of Mary Lipman of Ipswich in the December 2012 crash.

Anytime a person drives drunk, “it’s Russian roulette,” Whitehead said. Though the judge said he could tell Jacques felt “remorseful,” he acknowledged her substance abuse had cut Lipman’s life short.

“She had apparently been using drugs and alcohol to self-medicate, with the unfortunate result of another woman dying,” Whitehead said.

Lipman, remembered as a best friend to all, had been seated in the front passenger’s side of a vehicle driven by state Trooper James Cowhig on the night of the crash. Friend Martha Frost was riding in the rear of the vehicle as they returned home from an evening in Gloucester.

As Cowhig’s car navigated a turn on Route 133, the truck Jacques had borrowed drifted fully into their lane. Cowhig swung his vehicle left, to avoid Jacques, but Jacques swerved right, striking the passengers’ side of Cowhig’s car and killing Lipman.

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