A Saugus man was allegedly three times over the legal limit for alcohol when he drove south in the northbound lanes of Route 1 in Lynnfield, near the Peabody line, on Sunday evening and then crashed into an elderly couple's car, leaving the couple seriously injured, according to police.
Thomas Neirinckx, 21, was arraigned Monday on a lengthy list of charges, including drunken driving and driving under the influence of drugs causing serious bodily injury, two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, and driving to endanger.
Peabody District Court Judge Richard Mori ordered him held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing, at the request of the Essex District Attorney's office. That hearing is scheduled for Thursday, according to Carrie Kimball, a spokeswoman for the district attorney.
The crash occurred at around 9 p.m. on Route 1 near the underpass at Route 129.
Troopers at the Danvers state police barracks had received multiple 911 calls from other drivers about a blue Chevrolet Silverado pickup going south on the northbound side of the highway in the moments before the crash.
They then got a call from a driver who had just witnessed the Silverado crashing head-on into a car, injuring an elderly couple. A wheel from the pickup also came off and flew into another vehicle, occupied by a mother and two children, causing extensive damage to that car.
The driver, later identified as Neirinckx, ran up to the caller and asked him for a ride to a friend's house or to call a tow truck.
As police pulled up, Neirinckx ran off on foot behind a nearby car dealership. A trooper caught up with him, deploying a Taser that missed hitting the fleeing man, but he was quickly taken into custody.
The troopers said Neirinckx told them he was coming either from Danvers or Revere.
Troopers described Neirinckx as extremely unsteady as they walked him back to the scene. Because they were concerned he would flee again, they did not administer field sobriety tests, but say he smelled strongly of alcohol.
At the barracks, he took a Breathalyzer, with a result of .24.
"Man, I (expletive) up," he allegedly told troopers. "I only ran because (I) wasn't trying to get caught. You have to run, maybe I could've got away. How bad is my truck?"
He asked seven times where his truck was being towed. Troopers noted that he did not ask about the well-being of the elderly couple, both of whom were rushed to Lahey Hospital in Burlington.
Neirinckx is also charged with leaving the scene of personal injury and property damage accidents, failing to stop for police, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct, trespassing, driving the wrong way, and failing to stay within marked lanes.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis.