TOPSFIELD — When a New Bedford man received a phone call from a drunken friend in need of a ride after collapsing in the middle of Route 1 Saturday night, little did he know his good deed would land him in jail.
Christopher Vieira, 32, of Allen Street, was arrested around 11:45 p.m. Saturday and charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol minutes after arriving to collect his friend once officers smelled alcohol coming from his breath, according to police.
The drunken driving charge was continued without a finding for a year on Tuesday during Vieira's appearance at Ipswich District Court, located in Newburyport. Vieira also lost his driver's license for 45 days and was ordered to pay $600 in fines and fees.
Topsfield police responded to Route 1 near Salem Road after receiving word of a man lying down in the middle of the state highway. Officer Timothy Glynn and Sgt. James Bonfanti spoke to the man who told them he had been walking home from a wedding at Peirce Farm. He admitted to having several drinks but denied lying in the road. Judging by his appearance, however, police believed he had at least stumbled to the ground several times.
"At this point we asked (the man) if he could call someone sober to pick him up and take responsibility and custody of him. He called his friend, Mr. Vieira who was also at the wedding to come get him," Glynn wrote in his report.
Soon after, Vieira pulled over on the right shoulder of Route 1. Glynn waved for him to drive over to where he was parked on Gardner Street but Vieira didn't move. Eventually, Glynn walked to Vieira and told him to drive onto Gardner Street. But Vieira looked confused.
"Once Mr. Vieira was on Gardner Street, I spoke with him and asked him where he was coming from. He stated that he was coming from the same wedding (his friend) was at. Mr. Vieira's eyes were bloodshot and I could smell a strong odor of alcohol coming from his breath," Glynn wrote in his report.
Vieira admitted to having "five or six" beers at the wedding and agreed to take a series of field sobriety tests. He failed enough of them to be arrested and charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol. A blood alcohol level test taken at the scene showed a reading of 0.12, above the legal limit of 0.08, according to Glynn's report.
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