Articles Posted in Negligent Operation

On Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at about 2:30 in the afternoon, BW, a 27 year old Registered Nurse, was driving on the Mass. Turnpike on her way to Connecticut. The State Police received numerous calls from motorists on the Turnpike that her vehicle was weaving on the roadway. A State Trooper pulled in behind her vehicle and observed it go from the left hand lane into the median of the highway kicking up debris. The Trooper put on his emergency lights and BW pulled to the right and, after signalling with her right blinker, pulled across the highway and off to the right into the breakdown lane and stopped. The Trooper pulled in behind her and approached her vehicle. The Trooper made observations of BW and then had her exit her vehicle and perform certain roadside assessments which according to the Trooper she failed. The assessments included a one legged stand, a nine-step heel to toe walk, a balance test, and a horizontal gaze nystagmus test. According to the officer she failed all the tests. In BW’s open purse the officer observed a prescription bottle of gabapentin, a prescription medication for nerve pain. The officer charged BW with operating under the influence of drugs, specifically gabapentin. The officer also charged BW with Negligent Operation.

BW consulted with many lawyers. On February 16, 2020 BW had a two hour initial consultation with Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. The OUI Drug statute in Massachusetts is a very detailed and specific statute. It defines in very specific terms the types of drugs that trigger the application of the law. Gabapentin, which is a depressant substance (it depresses electrical activity in the central nervous system and is used to treat seizures and nerve pain) at first glance would appear to be a drug that triggers the OUI Drug law. BW and Attorney Lewin discussed the law in detail. BW retained Attorney Lewin. For BW it was important that she win; if she were to be charged and/or convicted her Nursing License could be in jeopardy.

Attorney Lewin thoroughly researched the law and the science. The Massachusetts OUI Drug law makes it unlawful to operate a motor vehicle on a public way while under the influence of a narcotic drug or a stimulant or depressant substance as defined in the law.  The law sets out a very technical definition of depressant substance. Attorney Lewin thoroughly researched the science and the law and was able to establish that gabapentin – although it was a depressant substance – did not meet all the requirements of the law; specifically the law required that the substance be “designated by regulation of the U.S. Attorney General as having a potential for abuse”.  Attorney Lewin did a thorough research of the Federal Regulations and it turns out that the US Attorney General has NOT so designated gabapentin. Attorney Lewin informed BW of his findings and told her that she was going to win her case.

On July 24, 2019 SB, a 74 year old retired administrator from North Andover, was driving from Peabody Center westerly on Route 114 toward Danvers. As he traveled westerly he approached the section of Rt. 114 where the North Shore Mall is on the left and Kappy’s Liquors is on the right. He was in the third lane from the right. According to SB he applied his brakes and the car did not slow. He then turned his steering wheel to the right to pull into the parking lot of Kappy’s. There was a motocycle in the lane immediately to SB’s right. When SB made that sudden turn he collided with the motor cycle. The cyclist was thrown off the motorcycle and was severely injured. He had a fractured leg and a possible head injury. SB continued into the parking lot of Kappy’s and the police were called by another motorist. SB waited at the side of Rt. 114 and the police arrived shortly thereafter. Three witnesses at the scene all told the police that “the motorcyclist was travelling straight ahead, and the other vehicle involved turned in front of him resulting in the crash”. The motorcyclist told the police that he was travelling straight ahead when SB’s vehicle suddenly turned directly in front of him causing the crash. The police cited SB for reckless operation.

SB spoke to at least 4 criminal lawyers. SB met with Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. They had an initial free consultation that lasted 2 hours. Attorney Lewin explained to SB that reckless operation carried a potential jail sentence of 2 years and a mandatory loss of license. Attorney Lewin downloaded SB’s driver history from the Registry of Motor Vehicles and it was terrible. SB had a prior conviction for Reckless Operation, 4 surchargeable at fault accidents, and 12 other moving violations. Attorney Lewin could sense immediately that SB was going to be a difficult client. SB thought he had all the answers and he thought he knew exactly how the defense should proceed. He was dead wrong and Attorney Lewin told him so. SB retained Attorney Lewin.

Attorney Lewin explained to SB why it was so important to try to kill the case at a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing. SB brought the citation to the Peabody District Court and requested a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing. Attorney Lewin then went over to Peabody District Court and obtained copies of all the police reports. More importantly, Attorney Lewin met with the Police Prosecutor from the Peabody Police Department. The purpose of the meeting was to advocate on SB’s behalf to get the case resolved at the Clerk-Magistrate hearing without a criminal complaint being issued against SB – a very tall order given the facts of the case, SB’s driver record, and the severe injuries sustained.

On April 22, 2018 RB, a 24 year old sales associate from Wilmington was driving his car on North Street in Tewksbury. He was making the turn from North Street onto Livingston Street when he lost control of the car. He struck and demolished a stone wall and a mailbox. He then left the scene and drove about 400 feet from the scene of the accident where his car could go no further. The whole accident was captured on a security video. The police responded and found RB. At first he told the police that his car had been struck by a hit and run driver but then he admitted that he had struck the wall and the fence.

The police cited RB for Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident, Negligent Operation, Speeding, and Marked Lane violation. RB and his father, several days later, returned to the scene of the accident and went and spoke to the owner of the property where the wall and mailbox had been situated. RB’s father hired a contractor to come in and rebuild the wall and rebuild and replace the mailbox. The work was done within a matter of days.

The owner of the property – luckily for RB – was a very understanding man. He wrote a letter stating that everything had been repaired and that RB had apologized to him and that he sought nothing further from RB.

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