LOWELL -- A 50-year-old Dracut man who was arrested nine days ago on a drunken-driving charge in Pelham, N.H., now faces 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 to operating under the influence of alcohol (fifth offense), having an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, disorderly conduct and failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk.
Prosecutor Christopher Minue said Poindexter has four prior drunken-driving convictions in Massachusetts -- in 1985, 1987, 1989 and 2001.
Meanwhile, Pelham police arrested Poindexter on July 20, at 11:30 a.m., and charged him with driving while intoxicated, disorderly conduct, and transporting an alcoholic beverage. He was due to be summonsed into Salem District Court at a later date. The details of that arrest were unknown Tuesday night.
Poindexter appears to have had a valid driver's license at the time of Monday's accident, Minue said. But with the enhanced penalties under Melanie's Law, enacted in 2005, the Registry of Motor Vehicles said Poindexter's license is revoked for life.
Minue asked that Poindexter be held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing, but defense attorney Robin Gagne asked that he be evaluated by the court clinician first for a possible mental-health commitment. But the court clinician said Poindexter could not be committed as long as a dangerousness hearing is pending.
Minue refused to retract his request for a hearing, describing Poindexter as an "incredible danger." Judge Barbara Pearson ordered Poindexter held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing set for Thursday.
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Lowell police said officers were called to Mammoth Road and Woodward Avenue at 12:55 p.m., and found a 25-year-old Lowell woman had been struck by a car. Police found the woman laying in the fetal position in the road, with a large welt on her face and complaining of pain, Minue said.
The woman and two children were in the crosswalk and had almost reached the other side when she was struck, Minue said. The two children were not injured. The woman was taken to Lowell General Hospital with injuries that police said were not life-threatening.
Police said it appears Poindexter drove into a utility pole at the northern side of the intersection before hitting the pedestrian. According to Minue, police said they found Poindexter standing outside his car, and that he had a strong smell of alcohol and allegedly admitted to drinking a couple of rum-and-Cokes.
Officers said they found an open bottle of vodka in the car, and said Poindexter 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 cares if someone of certain races gets run over.
Poindexter refused a field sobriety test and a Breathalyer test, Minue said.
Witnesses told police Poindexter's vehicle was "all over the road" before the accident, Minue said.
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