PEABODY — Prosecutors were forced to drop their case against a man facing his sixth drunken-driving charge earlier this year, after the state police trooper who made the arrest in March was suspended for a year for misconduct, The Salem News has learned.
And with the charges dropped, William Velasquez, 52, of Woburn, is now asking a judge to restore the license that the agency revoked for life as a result of the March arrest.
Trooper Sean McGarry, who had been with the Massachusetts State Police since 2005, was placed on a one-year suspension in April for violating rules and regulations concerning personal conduct, said state police spokesman David Procopio.
Procopio did not disclose the specific violations but said they occurred recently.
Velasquez and his wife were returning from dinner and drinks on the evening of March 15 when McGarry, according to his report, saw the SUV Velasquez was driving drifting between the first and second lanes on Route 128 four times.
He stopped the vehicle in Lynnfield and asked Velasquez if he had been drinking.
Velasquez allegedly admitted first to having two beers, then three, and eventually four (though his attorney, William Baccari, said his client did not drink all of the fourth).
At the state police barracks, Velasquez agreed to take a Breathalyzer test. But the machine, a Drager Alcotest model 9510, repeatedly rejected the samples he provided as either being insufficient or showed a result finding “mouth alcohol.”
The effort continued for nearly an hour before the trooper concluded that Velasquez was trying to stall or “beat” the test and recorded it as a “refusal,” according to the police report.
That is what triggered the lifetime license suspension from the Registry of Motor Vehicles, according to Baccari.
Baccari said he believes his client would have passed the test if the machine had been working properly and said he is aware of other instances of that model malfunctioning in a similar manner.