Southwick scofflaw sentenced

WESTFIELD – A Southwick man will stop driving without a valid license – for at least five months – after an appearance in Westfield District Court yesterday sent him to the Hampden County House of Correction.
Alfonso Ferrentino, 57, of 131 College Highway, came to the attention of Agawam police officer Brian Machos on Aug. 20, 2012, when, Machos reports, he cut off the officer’s unmarked cruiser while circling the rotary which provides access to Route 5 and the South End Bridge.
Machos reports he immediately activated his cruiser’s lights and siren but the BMW which Ferrentino was driving did not stop and proceeded around the rotary and up the ramp to the bridge, stopping only after the Agawam officer followed his car on to the bridge.
At that time, Machos found that Ferrentino’s license had been revoked and he was arrested for operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license and for a marked lanes violation.
His car was towed and a pre-tow inventory revealed a baggie containing a white powder. When the powder tested positive for cocaine, a charge of possession of a Class B substance was added.
Ferrentino was arraigned the next day and, when Judge Philip Contant allowed his release on $500 cash bail, he specifically ordered that Ferrentino refrain from operating a motor vehicle “without a valid license.”
However, Ferrentino came to the attention of Southwick police on November 26 when a citizen informed Officer Michael Taggart that a male party at Grist Mill Plaza in a white Mercedes coupe appeared to be intoxicated.
Taggart reports that he observed the car leaving the plaza and followed it northbound on College Highway until he observed the car cross the fog line on the roadway.
When Taggart activated his cruiser’s lights and siren, the Mercedes did not stop but continued for a mile and a half with its tires straddling the fog line before stopping on College Highway.
Taggart reports that while he was reporting the situation to his dispatcher, Ferrentino sped away and Taggart gave pursuit.
Taggart reports that he measured Ferrentino’s vehicle speed at 67 mph and accelerating in the posted 45 mph zone.  He observed it cross the center line to pass a northbound car, causing a southbound car to swerve out of harm’s way.
Although Taggart broke off the pursuit and deactivated his lights and sirens in the interests of safety when traffic increased, the Southwick officer followed the fleeing Ferrentino into Westfield and caught up with him at the traffic lights at the intersection of Southwick Road and South Maple Street.
But, when Taggart again activated his take down lights and started to exit his cruiser, Ferrentino again crossed the center line, cutting off southbound traffic, and fled, turning on to Crane Avenue.
However, Ferrentino did not turn from Crane Avenue on to Mill Street or Highland Avenue, but, passing a “Dead end” sign, continued to the end of Crane Avenue where a gate barred his passage.
Ferrentino was arrested for operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, operating to endanger, failure to stay in marked lanes, speeding and failure to stop for police.
Ferrentino was arraigned before Contant again the next day and Assistant District Attorney Mary Partyka filed a motion for revocation of bail.
Contant allowed the motion noting that “This is the defendant’s seventh operating a motor vehicle after suspension offense”, that the new charges “violated pretrial conditions of release” and that Ferrentino has a history of “at least nine prior appearance defaults.”
He ordered that Ferrentino be held without right to bail.
On Thursday, Ferrentino appeared before Judge Robert Murphy and, in both of the pending cases, pleaded guilty to all charges.
For the charges leveled by Agawam police, Murphy sentenced Ferrentino to two concurrent 60-day terms in the house of correction.
For the Southwick charges, Ferrentino’s attorney, Melissa Erica Bodanza of Westfield, recommended another pair of 60-day sentences and Partyka countered with a recommendation of two nine month sentences.
Murphy ordered that Ferrentino serve two concurrent 90-day terms.
Although sentences imposed on separate cases are often ordered to be served concurrently, in Ferrentino’s case, Murphy ordered that the two pairs of sentences be served consecutively.
The result of Murphy’s decision will be that Ferrentino will not start serving the second pair of terms until he completes the sentences for the other two offenses.

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