BEVERLY — His driving record stretches over 12 pages, back to his teenage years. He was out on bail in a drunken driving case, and his license had been revoked repeatedly for various offenses.
But police say Todd C. Porter, 31, was once again at the wheel, driving drunk and recklessly, on Sunday night when he blasted through two red lights near the busy intersection of Route 62 (Elliot Street) and Route 1A (Rantoul Street).
The result: a scene police described as “carnage;” Porter’s girlfriend Christine Dinis, 45, of Peabody, dead; a Salem man, Dennis Moustakis, 48, critically injured; and Porter suffering back, facial and leg injuries.
“I (expletive) up,” Porter, of 708 Manor Road, Beverly, said over and over at the scene, police said.
Patrolman Joshua Pickett had to cut away the Cadillac’s side airbags before he could see Dinis, who had become wedged under the dashboard, bleeding from multiple injuries, according to his report.
Pickett pried open the door and reached in. Dinis had just a faint pulse. She was later pronounced dead on arrival at Beverly Hospital.
Then he saw Porter, sitting in the driver’s seat, still belted and with both hands on the wheel.
“Sir, are you OK?” Pickett asked.
“I (expletive) up,” Porter, who smelled of alcohol, said over and over. There was an open package of Corona beer on the floor of the back seat behind him.
Pickett, who knew Porter from prior encounters, said he did not initially recognize the bleeding man in the SUV.
Witnesses in a car that was behind the Cadillac said that they were heading east on Elliot Street when the Cadillac passed them at the red light at McPherson Drive. The SUV sped up the street and when the witnesses saw it again, it was going through the red light at the intersection of Elliot and Rantoul streets.
That’s when the SUV hit Moustakis’s truck, sending the truck into the air, the tailgate hitting the overhead traffic signal.
Moustakis’s tool box, in the back of his truck, went flying, landing about 30 feet away on a minivan in the parking lot of the Walgreens nearby.
The SUV continued on through the intersection, flipping, spinning, turning and then rolling over, coming to rest on a parking lot median, against a tree.
Dinis’s purse, which was thrown from the SUV, was found by a bystander some distance away.
A state police accident reconstruction team was called in.
Pleaded ‘not guilty’
Hours later, on Monday afternoon, Porter, in a neck brace, with wires for numerous monitors attached to his chest, was ordered held on $100,000 cash bail following a hospital arraignment at Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Burlington.
Porter pleaded not guilty through his attorney, Scott Dullea, to charges of motor vehicle homicide while operating under the influence of alcohol; operating under the influence of alcohol causing serious bodily injury, operating under the influence, possession of an open container of alcohol, driving after license suspension, speeding and two counts of failing to stop or yield.
He was also arraigned on, and pleaded not guilty to, two earlier cases involving Dinis as his alleged victim.
On Jan. 17, Dinis and Porter were at dinner at Sam and Joe’s in Danvers when Porter accused her of looking at another man, she wrote in an affidavit for a restraining order that she would drop 10 days later.
“I started to shake because I knew what was coming,” Dinis said in an affidavit. “He made me change seats with him so I could only see him.”
Hoping to placate him, she took him to the Target store in Danvers, where he again flew into a jealous rage when she stepped too close to a man while getting a shopping cart, she told a judge. He called her names, accused her of infidelity with her adult daughter’s boyfriend, and then grabbed her phone and her keys.
Just a couple of months later, prosecutor Lynsey Legier told the judge, Porter was visiting her at an apartment on Kirkbride Drive in Danvers when she called 911.
Dinis told police Porter pushed her onto a floor and sprayed water on her, punching and kicking her.
Dinis told police after that incident that when she woke up the following morning, her 2014 Cadillac was missing; it was found later with damage.
Porter pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from those incidents on Monday as well.
Last July, Porter was charged in three communities, Peabody, Wenham and Danvers, after allegedly fleeing the scene of a crash in Peabody, and leading a pursuit in Wenham and Danvers, where he was finally caught after a foot chase.
Brennan agreed to the prosecutor’s request to revoke Porter’s bail in that case — in which he had been warned not to get into any further trouble and not to drive. Porter never showed up to court again on that case.
In November 2010, Porter was charged with leaving the scene of a crash and other charges following a crash on Route 128 in Beverly, where he lost control of a car he was driving and crashed into the median. His passenger told police that she begged him to slow down before the crash.
After the crash, according to a police report, Porter told her “I can’t be here,” and fled on foot, leaving her behind. But the case was later dismissed when the woman failed to appear to testify against Porter.
Dullea, Porter’s lawyer, said his client is a 31-year-old laborer. Probate court records show he is the father of at least two children.
Dullea declined further comment, saying that the investigation into the case is still going on and that saying anything would be “premature.”
Brennan set the bail at $100,000 on the vehicular homicide case, at $5,000 on each of the domestic abuse cases, and then revoked Porter’s bail in last year’s drunken driving case, meaning that regardless of whether he can afford to post $110,000 in the new cases, he won’t be released for at least 90 days or until the older drunken driving case is resolved.
Brennan cited Porter’s history of violence and missed court appearances.
Asked if he understood, Porter paused, then, in a low voice, said “It’s a lot to take in. I’m sorry.”
A pre-trial hearing is scheduled for June 12.
Dinis had two daughters, Kayla and Sara, who live in Peabody, according to their Facebook profiles. She also has a sister, Caroline De Mello, who resides in Taunton.
Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at email@example.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.