LOWELL -- Lowell police say a 56-year-old city man was driving drunk at more than twice the legal limit Thursday afternoon on Thorndike Street when he allegedly slammed into the rear of a truck carrying hazardous waste triggering a hazardous materials incident during rush-hour traffic, prosecutors said.
Police allege shortly before 4 p.m. a Lowell police officer was at the traffic light at the intersection of Thorndike Street and YMCA drive with a Triumvirate Environmental truck behind him when he heard a loud crash. A 2006 Toyota Tundra being driven by Thomas Crear was crushed and embedded into the rear of the Triumvirate truck. Police say Crear's truck began leaking fluids from the engine compartment
Crear, who smelled of alcohol, allegedly told police he had been drinking. A portable blood alcohol test registered .18 -- more than twice the legal of limit of .08, according to court documents.
The driver of the Triumvirate truck wanted to seek medical attention, but told police he couldn't leave because he was carrying hazardous waste and flammable materials in the back of his truck. Fortunately, his truck was not leaking any fluids.
Crear allegedly told police he drank a pint of alcohol an hour before the accident, but claimed he was "fine,'' according to court documents.
In Lowell District Court on Friday, Crear, of 16 Sargent St., was released on personal recognizance after pleading not guilty to operating under the influence of alcohol- first offense.
Prosecutor James Puritz said the incident caused a hazardous materials incident during rush hour at one of the most congested incidents in the city. Puritz asked that conditions of Crear's release is that he is not drive without a valid license. Defense attorney Jeanne Earley agreed to that restriction by balked as a condition that Crear not drink and submit to random screens.
Earley said this was Crear's first brush with the law. Judge Ellen Caulo agreed, telling Crear he is not to drive without a valid license.
Crear's next court date is a pretrial conference on Sept. 8.
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