DANVERS — A Danvers police officer who had just called in sick for his shift was arrested on a drunken driving charge following a collision Monday evening. 

Patrolman Adam French, 46, of Danvers, was driving his 2012 Audi SUV on High Street when a second vehicle, a 2018 Ford F150 pickup, driven by Charles Dunton, 55, pulled out of a driveway at No. 37, police said. French was unable to stop on the snow and ice-covered roadway, he told police. 

Dunton told officers that he suspected French of being drunk as the two exchanged information; Dunton then noticed French’s badge when he opened his wallet, he said. 

Police officers responding to the crash said they also believed French was intoxicated, due to his unsteadiness and glassy eyes, as well as an odor of alcohol on his breath, according to Sgt. Peter Shabowich’s report. French told the officers he’d had “one or two” drinks and that he was also tired from having worked many hours over the prior several days.

Due to the weather that evening, police were unable to complete field sobriety tests. French later refused a Breathalyzer test. 

Shabowich said he had spoken to French by phone a short time before the 5:35 p.m. crash, when the officer called in sick, and said his speech sounded the same as it did at the crash scene. 

During his booking, French told Shabowich he was having chest pains. As he was about to be taken to Beverly Hospital, Shabowich wrote in his report, French “told me he had a drinking problem and needed help.” 

French is scheduled to be arraigned on the charge, a first offense, on Dec. 18 in Salem District Court, according to the case docket. Court records indicate the arraignment was delayed because French was in a hospital. 

Chief Patrick Ambrose said French is on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal affairs investigation by the department, which is standard when an officer is charged. 

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis. 

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