DANVERS — A Danvers man will spend at least 41/2 years behind bars after pleading guilty yesterday to his eighth drunken-driving charge, prosecutors said.
Kenneth Ouimette, 55, of 191/2 Bradstreet Ave. was arrested in the early-morning hours of June 13 after nearly colliding head-on with a Lynn police cruiser on Essex Street in front of the Lynn District Court.
Ouimette was driving the wrong way on the one-way street, which is also adjacent to the Lynn police department, police said.
He stopped his Chevrolet pickup truck when a sergeant turned on the blue lights of the cruiser he was driving, but Ouimette was disoriented and legless, police said at the time.
Ouimette told the officer that he was on his way to Beverly after drinking at the home of someone named “Gary.”
Police had to carry Ouimette into the station, but he insisted he hadn’t had much to drink. Then, during booking, he dropped a quarter. Police told him they’d get it, but Ouimette insisted on leaning over to reach it and fell, face first, onto the floor.
He refused a Breathalyzer test.
Ouimette’s record dates back to the mid-1970s. His most recent conviction before yesterday was in 2005, when he received a 21/2-year jail term.
Because his license was still suspended as a result of the 2005 case, Ouimette was also charged with, and yesterday pleaded guilty to, driving after license suspension for drunken driving.
Salem Superior Court Judge David Lowy imposed a 31/2-year term in state prison for the drunken-driving charge. First, however, Ouimette will have to complete one year of a 21/2-year house of correction term for the driving after suspension charge, the minimum mandatory sentence.
He received credit toward that sentence for the time he’s spent in custody, being held without bail as a danger to the public.
Lowy also ordered that the balance of the house of correction term be suspended for eight years, during which Ouimette will be on probation. He will have to obey conditions that include random alcohol tests and attending five Alcoholics Anonymous meetings a week.
His license has been revoked.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.