PELHAM -- A Lowell, Mass., man whose car struck a tree was driving drunk despite an interlock device on his car that should have kept him off the road, police said Saturday.
According to a press release, a woman witnessed a 2002 Mazda pickup truck strike a tree at Hobbs Road and Simpson Mill Road; the driver continued on erratically.
Police pulled over the truck on Route 38 and Atwood Road. The driver, John T. LeVasseur, 46, was "highly intoxicated and very unsteady on his feet," and unable to pass a field sobriety test. Police said LeVasseur possessed marijuana, and said multiple empty hard-liquor bottles were scattered on the floor of the truck.
Police said LeVasseur has been convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol in 1984 in Lowell District Court, and in 2009 in Cabarrus County, North Carolina. Under Massachusetts' Melanie's Law, LeVasseur was required to have an ignition interlock device on his car to prevent him from driving drunk.
Police said LeVasseur told them he blew into the device on Saturday, and it allowed him to start his car.
LeVasseur was charged with driving while intoxicated, driving while intoxicated per se, driving while intoxicated 2nd offense, aggravated driving while intoxicated, conduct after an accident, possession of marijuana, and transportation of marijuana. He is being held on $1,000 cash bail and is scheduled for arraignment at the 10th Circuit District Division - Salem, on Monday.
Police said they are still investigating how LeVasseur was able to start his car.