Driver held after trail of crashes
By Julie Manganis
SALEM A man charged with hitting multiple cars, one of them twice, on Sunday evening recalls little of what happened, his lawyer said yesterday.
William White, 30, pleaded not guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs, leaving the scene of two personal injury accidents and two property damage accidents, and a variety of other driving violations during his arraignment yesterday in Salem District Court.
Salem Police Lt. Conrad Prosniewski said officers on the scene of the 5:38 p.m. crash likened it to "a war zone," with one woman trapped in the wreckage of her crumpled Volvo, another woman injured when White hit her car twice, smoke coming from the heavily damaged vehicles and White himself plowing into a fence on the corner of Bridge and Boston streets.
White greeted officers with "a confused, blank stare," Prosniewski said.
He later admitted he'd had a couple of drinks, on top of an anti-depressant he was also taking.
White crossed the double yellow line on Boston Street and struck the first driver in the lane head-on, said the police prosecutor. He then hit another car, pushing it into a parked car. He continued on, hitting another car head-on, backing up and then hitting it again as he tried to go around it.
The drivers of the first and the fourth cars were taken to Salem Hospital, Prosniewski said.
White performed poorly on field sobriety tests, police reported, eventually telling the officer, "Just take me to jail."
He later refused a blood alcohol test, meaning he will lose his license for at least six months.
White's lawyer, William Barabino, said his client was "pretty upset to learn he may have caused someone injury" and appeared remorseful yesterday as he prepared to go into the courtroom.
"He has little memory of this incident," said Barabino, who also said his client wasn't trying to flee the scene but just lost control of the pickup truck he was driving.
Judge Richard Mori set bail at $5,000, an amount White, who lives in North Carolina has no immediate family in the area, is not expected to post right away.
He's due back in court Jan. 5.