BURLINGTON -- A 23-year-old Lawrence man was ordered held on $10,000 cash bail after pleading not guilty to being under the influence of drugs Sunday morning when the car he was driving rolled over on I-93 in Wilmington, killing a passenger, according to the Middlesex District Attorney's Office.

At his bedside arraignment at Lahey Clinic in Burlington on Monday, Dennes Almonte pleaded not guilty to operating under the influence -- drugs, causing serious bodily injury, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and speeding.

If he posts bail, Almonte is prohibited from driving and must submit to random alcohol screens.

His next court date is March 10 for a pretrial conference.

State police responded at 5 a.m. Sunday for a report of a 2003 Acura TL that hit the center median barrier near Exit 41 on I-93 and flipped over. Almonte, the driver, allegedly fled on foot just after his two passengers were thrown 20 feet from the vehicle, police said.

Police identified the passenger who died as Hansel Paulino, 22, also of Lawrence. Paulino was found unresponsive and unconscious when officials arrived and was transported to Lahey Clinic in Burlington.

The third person in the vehicle was identified by police as Jonathan Cruz, 24, of Lawrence. He was transported to the hospital with serious but not life-threatening injuries.

According to state police, an initial investigation showed the Acura at some point left the roadway and struck the guardrail on the median side, causing it to roll and land on its roof in the third travel lane.


The engine to the vehicle was found about 100 feet from the crash site, in the first travel lane.

Almonte was later located on Ballardvale Street in Wilmington after he pulled a fire call box there. A State Police K9 unit was already tracking him from the crash scene to Ballardvale Street at that time.

Almonte was taken to Lahey with non-life threatening injuries, where he was placed into custody by troopers Sunday afternoon.

The crash remains under investigation by troopers from the State Police Andover Barracks, according to a department press release.

The State Police K9 team along with the State Police Collision Analysis Reconstruction Section, State Police Crime Scene Services Section, Wilmington Fire and EMS departments, and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation assisted at the scene.