DANVERS — An eight-time drunken driver once called "a terror on the road" by a judge was sent back to jail for a year yesterday after admitting that he had not reported to his probation officer for more than three years.
Robert A. Grasso, 43, pleaded guilty to his eighth drunken driving charge back in July 2001 and was sent to prison for four years, to be followed by three years of probation.
The charges stem from back-to-back crashes on Route 1 in Danvers in March 2000, when he rear-ended a truck on Route 1 and then hit it again as he tried to go around it. After Grasso's truck rolled over onto the median, police were told by a witness that Grasso, who was living in Danvers at the time, climbed out of the wreckage and walked away.
Police caught up with Grasso, covered in glass, as he walked along Route 62. He denied being in an accident. Police suspected him of being drunk and arrested him. He was also charged with driving to endanger, leaving the scene of an accident and driving after his license was revoked for his prior drunken driving convictions, dating back to 1983, when he was still a teenager.
After his release from prison, he made sporadic appearances at the probation department. Then, in April 2005, he stopped showing up altogether, his probation officer told a judge yesterday.
Grasso had been under a judge's orders to attend Alcoholics Anonymous and get treatment, but probation officers had no way to know whether he was complying with those orders, the officer told Judge David Lowy yesterday during a probation violation hearing in Salem Superior Court.
Grasso apparently avoided trouble — and detection — but resurfaced late last month and was arrested on the 3-year-old warrant. He's been held since then, waiting to learn his fate.
Lowy accepted the agreement hammered out between the probation department and Grasso's attorney yesterday.