SALEM — The lawyer for a mentally disabled Beverly man charged with running down a pedestrian on Bridge Street in Salem and then fleeing the scene 31/2 years ago tried again yesterday, unsuccessfully, to persuade a judge to dismiss the case.
Scott Soreff, 40, has autism and bipolar disorder, and experts for both the defense and prosecution suggested last year that he will never be competent to stand trial.
Soreff, who had been involved in a number of accidents, was again at the wheel on the night of Nov. 25, 2008, when he was involved in two accidents after leaving the home of a friend, according to police.
Soreff allegedly struck a car while driving near the intersection of Webb and Bridge streets, then continued heading north, toward Beverly, where he lived.
He struck Guatemalan immigrant Valentino Macario-Lopez, 28, a married father, who was crossing the street between Dunkin' Donuts and Cosgrove's Liquors, then continued driving home, parking outside his building, according to police.
Police charged Soreff with driving to endanger and leaving the scene of the accidents.
After a hearing last year, Salem Superior Court Judge John Lu determined that Soreff is not competent to stand trial in the case but denied a defense request at the time to dismiss the charges.
Under the law, the case can remain open for up to half of the length of the maximum sentence he would have received if found guilty.
That's not until February 2016, prosecutor Michael Sheehan argued.
Defense lawyer Rebecca Whitehill argued that it serves no purpose to keep the case open given the fact that Soreff will likely never be competent because of his mental disability.
She went on to tell Lu that Soreff has complied with all of the conditions of his bail, including not driving and complying with his medication regimen. Soreff, a grocery bagger, transferred his job to a supermarket within walking distance of his Rantoul Street apartment.
Sheehan suggested that he may seek to have Soreff re-evaluated in a year to determine whether he remains incompetent.
Lu denied the motion to dismiss the case and said it's unlikely he will change his mind any time during the next four years.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis may be reached at 978-338-2521 or email@example.com.