LOWELL -- A 50-year-old Dracut man, who was arrested nine days ago on a drunken driving charge in Pelham, N.H., is facing his fifth drunken-driving charge in Massachusetts after police say he clipped a utility pole, then struck a 25-year-old female pedestrian on Mammoth Road on Monday.

Richard Poindexter, of 31 Leavitt St., pleaded not guilty in Lowell District Court on Tuesday. He is charged with operating under the influence of alcohol (fifth offense), open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, disorderly conduct and failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

Richard Poindexter, 50, of Dracut is led away by Lowell police after being charged with operating under the influence of alcohol for the sixth time after
Richard Poindexter, 50, of Dracut is led away by Lowell police after being charged with operating under the influence of alcohol for the sixth time after allegedly striking a woman in Lowell on Monday afternoon. SUN/David H. Brow

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Prosecutor Christopher Minue said Poindexter was convicted of drunken driving in 2001, 1989, 1987 and 1985. Poindexter appears to have had a valid driver's license at the time of the accident, Minue said. But with enhanced penalities under Melanie's Law, enacted in 2005, the Registry of Motor Vehicles states that Poindexter's license is revoked for life.

Minue asked that Poindexter be held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing. Defense attorney Robin Gagne asked that Poindexter be evaluated by the court clinician for a possible mental-health commitment.

The court clinician said Poindexter could not be committed with a dangerousness hearing pending. Minue refused to retract his request for the hearing, describing Poindexter as an "incredible danger.


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" The hearing is scheduled for Thursday.

Lowell police said officers were called to the intersection of Mammoth Road and Woodward Avenue at 12:55 p.m., and found a 25-year-old Lowell woman who had been struck by a car. Police found the woman laying in the road in the fetal position, with a large welt on her face and complaining of pain, Minue said.

The victim, and the two children with her, were in the crosswalk and had almost reached the other side when she was hit, Minue said. The children were not injured. The woman was taken to a city hospital with non life-threatening injuries, police said.

Police said it appears Poindexter drove into a utility pole at the northern side of the intersection before plowing into the pedestrian.

Meanwhile, police said found Poindexter standing outside his car, Minue said. He had a strong smell of alcohol and allegedly admitted to drinking a couple of rum and Cokes, Minue said.

Officers found an open bottle of Caldwell vodka in the car with Poindexter, who screamed at officers and bystanders as he was taken into custody. He allegedly screamed at police that the victim "jumped right out in front of me."

Police said Poindexter used a pair of racial slurs and said no one cared if someone of certain races got run over.

Poindexter refused a field sobriety test and a Breathalyer test, Minue said.

Witnesses told police that Poindexter's vehicle was "all over the road" before the accident, Minue said.

Pelham police arrested Poindexter at 11:30 a.m. on July 20 and charged with driving while intoxicated, disorderly conduct, and transporting an alcoholic beverage. He was due to be summonsed into Salem, N.H., District Court at a later date. The details of that arrest were unknown as of deadline.

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