Mix of prescription, booze lands man in jail — (The Salem News)

SSRI Ed note: Lexapro causes man to become seriously impaired after small amount of alcohol, he is charged, faces driving licence supension.

Original article no longer available

The Salem News

By Julie Manganis, Staff writer

BEVERLY ­ During his arraignment last October on charges of driving while under the influence of prescription drugs, William Donovan was warned by a judge not to drive.

Donovan, 31, of Beverly, doesn’t recall that warning, his lawyer said yesterday during Donovan’s arraignment on new charges of driving while under the influence of prescription drugs.

In fact, he’s continued driving since last October, when Topsfield police arrested him after an accident on Route 1.

Unlike drunken driving, there’s no automatic provision for a license suspension after an arrest for driving while impaired by drugs. Prosecutors in Salem District Court yesterday, however, pointed to Judge Allen Swan’s order, noted on the docket last October, that Donovan not drive.

Yesterday, Judge Robert Cornetta ordered Beverly police to notify the Registry of Motor Vehicles of Donovan’s arrest and report him as an “immediate threat,” a move likely to result in a license suspension.

Cornetta also revoked Donovan’s release in the October case, ordering him held without bail for 60 days.

Donovan was arrested early yesterday after a clerk at a CVS called 911 to report that a customer who had been staggering around in the store had just driven away.

Police caught up with his Acura, the trunk lid open, on Dodge Street.

Donovan told police he’d had two drinks and didn’t believe he was drunk, according to a police report. A Breathalyzer test showed a blood alcohol level of .05, below the legal limit of .08.

But Donovan also told police that he had been taking the prescription drug Lexapro, an antidepressant ­ and that he’d had a similar problem with the medication last October when he was arrested in Topsfield.

Defense lawyer Astrid afKlinteberg urged Cornetta not to revoke Donovan’s bail in the Topsfield case, saying the cable television installer would lose his job and be unable to support his kids. She said Donovan did not recall the warning from Swan.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Satelmajer, meanwhile, pointed to the warning label on Lexapro that warns against mixing it with alcohol.

Cornetta sided with the prosecutor, granting her request to revoke Donovan’s earlier release and adding another $1,000 bail in the new case.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Dec. 6.