WOBURN -- A former Andover police officer whose alleged hit-and-run drunken driving incident in Tewksbury last March triggered the reprimand of the president of the Lowell Patrolmen's Union pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges including, misleading a police officer.
In Middlesex Superior Court, Evan Robitaille, 32, of Groveland, was released on personal recognizance after pleading not guilty to operating under the influence - alcohol, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of property damage and misleading a police officer.
His next court date is a pretrial conference on June 29.
A probe was launched into how Lowell police handled the 911 call about the March 11, 2013 accident, when an apparently drunk Robitaille, who was off duty, drove into the Gulf/Dunkin Donuts complex in Lowell after the accident on I-495 in Tewksbury and wasn't arrested for drunken driving.
Instead, Robitaille's heavily damaged Honda Pilot was privately towed and Robitaille was dropped off by Lowell police at a nearby McDonald's to get a ride home, according to court documents.
The Sun reported in April that Lowell Police Officer Dennis Moriarty, who responded to the call with officer Daniel Otero, was charged by Lowell police with officer "misconduct" for his handling of the incident.
Robitaille was placed on paid administrative leave on Oct. 18, 2013 as a result an internal affairs probe. He resigned a month later.
According to court documents, State Police received a report at 9:30 a.m. on March 11, 2013. Box-truck driver Dennis Iacono of Salem, N.H., told police he was driving south on I-495 in Tewksbury when he was struck in the left rear corner by an SUV. That car fled, leaving the highway at Woburn Street (Exit 37).
Robitaille drove into the Gulf/Dunkin Donuts complex in Lowell off the highway and was confronted by a witness, according to court documents. The witness later told the cashier that Robitaille fled the scene of a crash and appeared intoxicated, documents state.
The cashier and the complex manager said they saw Robitaille having trouble standing and appeared intoxicated. A security video shows the Honda Pilot, with Robitaille behind the wheel, exit the SUV as a pickup truck parks behind the SUV and that driver confronted Robitaille. Officials were able to enhance the pickup truck's registration number to track down the driver.
The cashier called 911. Lowell police arrived and placed Robitaille in the front seat of a cruiser, driving him to McDonald's restaurant on Route 38, according to court documents. Arrangements were made to have the Honda Pilot privately towed to Elm Street Automotive in Andover, documents state.
The Honda Pilot was towed by Stuart's Towing back to its shop. The tow truck operator told the shop owner that the operator of the Honda Pilot was very intoxicated and he was an Andover police officer.
It was Moriarty who called Kevin Stuart on his personal cell phone to arrange the tow, which is a violation of department policy. Moriarty also gave Robitaille a ride to the McDonald's without getting approval from a supervisor, another violation of department policy.
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