, Salem, MA

Local News

August 20, 2013

Trial starts in Salem for OUI suspect

Witness describes crash, being pushed down highway by truck

SALEM — Covered in blood and shattered glass, a large metal hook just inches from her head as she was pushed sideways down Route 128 in her tiny Volkswagen Beetle, Bessie Broufas was in a state of panic.

“I didn’t think we were going to survive, to be honest with you,” Broufas, a schoolteacher from Lynn, told jurors yesterday.

Broufas was the first witness called in the case against Charles Snow of Salem, charged with drunken driving on the Sunday afternoon during Memorial Day weekend last year.

If convicted by the Salem Superior Court jury, it will be the seventh time Snow, 53, has been found guilty of drunken driving in Massachusetts; court records indicate there are two other convictions in New Hampshire.

Jurors, who have been instructed not to read about the case, won’t hear any of that, however, since details of prior convictions, dating back to 1977, would be considered prejudicial.

They also won’t hear that, according to a police report, Snow repeatedly uttered the words “I’m (expletive)” when offered a Breathalyzer. Because that was deemed a refusal by police, that is also inadmissible as evidence in the trial.

Instead, jurors will have to rely on witness accounts, including that of Broufas, who was driving home to Lynn with her teenage daughter after dropping off her daughter’s friend in Beverly that afternoon, May 27, 2012, at around 4 p.m.

They had just passed the interchange with Route 1 and were in the right-hand lane, preparing to take the exit for Walnut Street in Lynnfield, when a 1989 Ford pickup truck struck them from behind, in the left rear quarter, prosecutor Kel Forlizzi told jurors in her opening statement.

The impact spun Broufas’ Beetle to the left, she testified. The plow mount on the front of the truck crushed the side of the car, shattered the windows and then held the car in place as the Ford veered back and forth between the first and second lanes, pushing the Beetle sideways.

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