Reckless operator charged

WESTFIELD – A city man is facing a charge of operating under the influence of liquor after he drew attention to himself early Friday morning by driving his pickup truck – on three tires – from a Southwick accident to a Ward Road address.
A city police dispatcher reports that at 12:36 a.m. Friday a caller reported that a white pickup truck was on fire and driving without wheels in the area of Southwick Road and Apple Blossom Lane.
Officer James Renaudette reports that he observed gouge marks in the pavement of Southwick Road at the town line and followed them on to Apple Blossom Lane and then to Ward Road where he saw two women attempting to attract his attention near a Ford Taurus that was parked on the side of the road.
Renaudette reports that the women said that a tire from a pickup truck struck the Taurus while they were driving on Sunnyside Road in Southwick and they followed the pickup as it drove south on College Highway on three wheels.
The women said their car was not damaged and pointed to the pickup truck, which was parked in a nearby driveway.
Officers Jared Rowe and Chris Coach arrived to assist and together the officers approached a couple standing near the parked truck.
Renaudette reports he asked who had been driving the pickup and got no response until the woman said “Tell him” to the man next to her.
Renaudette reports that the man, later identified as Christopher M. Shea, 26, of 80 Pineridge Drive, then said that he owned the truck and had been operating it.
He said that he had struck a curb with the truck.
Renaudette saw that one tire was missing and observed extensive damage to the rim that was consistent with the gouge marks he had followed from Southwick. He also observed extensive body damage in area of the wheel well.
When Shea spoke, Renaudette immediately noticed that his words were slurred and reports that an odor of alcohol was apparent from a distance of four feet. The man was also swaying on his feet and acknowledged that he had consumed two beers at a Westfield restaurant.
He agreed to perform a series of field sobriety tests, which, in Renaudette’s opinion, he failed.
Shea was arrested for operating under the influence of liquor and for reckless operation of a motor vehicle.
Southwick police subsequently reported that a utility pole had been struck on College Highway.
Shea was arraigned Friday in Westfield District Court where he was released on his personal recognizance pending a June 12 pretrial hearing.

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