BY ETHAN FORMAN
---- — MARBLEHEAD — Kevin C. Meagher had recently received his license to be a permanent business manager, but his career as a school official appears to be on hold after he was arrested Monday night.
Meagher is accused of driving drunk and almost colliding with a cruiser on Atlantic Avenue. A fully loaded handgun, a knife and several bottles of alcohol were on his person and in his SUV, according to police.
Superintendent Greg Maass said Meagher resigned his $80,000 interim post yesterday.
“He regrets the impact it had on the school system,” Maass said. “From here on out, it’s a legal proceeding.”
Police on Monday charged Meagher with second-offense drunken driving and carrying a firearm while intoxicated, the latter being a felony. He was also charged with negligent operation of a motor vehicle, speeding and a marked lanes violation. His first drunken-driving arraignment took place in Framingham in 1990, according to police records.
Following Meagher’s arraignment Tuesday in Lynn District Court, where he pleaded not guilty, Judge Stacey Fortes-White released him on $2,500 cash bail. Assistant District Attorney Lisa Core had asked for $10,000 bail, Essex County District Attorney Spokeswoman Carrie Kimball Monahan said.
His next court date is March 13.
The judge also ordered Meagher, 47, of 2 Pearl Road, Saugus, not to drink alcohol, to submit to random drug and alcohol screenings, and to forfeit his weapons. Meagher has a license to carry a firearm.
At 8:14 p.m. Monday, Patrolman Daniel Katz stopped the white 2007 Ford Expedition that Meagher was driving. Katz said in his report that he had to swerve his cruiser to prevent the SUV from striking his driver’s-side mirror as he drove on Atlantic Avenue into town. Meagher was driving out of town, in the vicinity of CVS and Fen Yang House restaurant.
Meagher was doing 45 mph in a 20 mph zone and driving on the yellow line, and he failed to slow as the cruiser approached him, according to Katz’s report.
Katz swung his cruiser around, activated his blue lights and stopped Meagher at the intersection of Atlantic and Ocean avenues.
Katz observed Meagher fumble with his wallet and paperwork in his truck as he tried to produce his license and registration, according to the report. Katz also noticed “that his speech was slurred, his eyes were glossy and bloodshot, and a strong odor of alcoholic beverage was coming from his breath.”
Meagher reportedly told the officer more than once that “he was coming from work as a school administrator” even though the stop took place on a day when the schools and town offices were closed for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. Meagher eventually told police that he came from The Barnacle Restaurant.
Patrolman Christopher Adkerson arrived, and Meagher refused to take field sobriety and breath tests, police said. While Katz was putting the handcuffs on Meagher, Katz said that Adkerson noticed a knife case in the center console cup holder of Meagher’s vehicle and, when asked if he had any weapons, Meagher allegedly said: “Yes, I have a knife in my right front pocket.”
Adkerson instead found in that pocket a loaded .38-caliber Smith & Wesson handgun and a black canvas gun holster.
When asked why he did not tell officers that he was carrying a loaded handgun, Meagher allegedly said: “I don’t consider a gun a weapon.”
Police searched him and found a knife in his right jacket pocket, an empty nip bottle of Grand Marnier, a full nip of the same alcohol and a full nip of Jameson Irish Whiskey. Later, Adkerson reportedly found five empty bottles of Sutter Home wine on the rear passenger side of the floor and an unopened bottle of Hennessy cognac.
During booking, Meagher reportedly stared down officers and was also at times cooperative, the report said. He denied that he had consumed alcoholic beverages. Later, he told officers he had “two beers” and that he had consumed his last drink at 8 p.m. Katz said Meagher refused a request to submit to a chemical test.
Police Lt. Jon Lunt also found Meagher’s Massachusetts license to carry in his wallet and, due to the charges, confiscated it in case Saugus police suspend it.
Meagher was hired on Aug. 1, 2011, from Winthrop, Maass said. In February 2011, Meagher resigned from his job as the Winthrop schools’ director of finance after six years over concerns about consolidation of town and school financial posts, according to a report in the Winthrop Sun-Transcript.
Meagher applied to Marblehead without a school business manager’s license, so Maass hired him on an interim basis until he could earn the proper credential, which he had recently received.
“He did a really good job here in Marblehead,” Maass said.
When Maass was asked if he had any concerns about Meagher allegedly having weapons on him, Maass said, “I can’t comment on that because that is one of the things that is being reported.
“Away from this,” Maass said, “I do have a concern about the availability of weapons.”
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.