The lawyer in charge of the Worcester office of the Committee for Public Counsel Services allegedly asked police to leave “embarrassing elements” out of their report after his arrest for drunken driving in Leicester early Saturday morning.
Michael S. Hussey, 51, of 8 Wheeler Ave., Worcester, was arraigned yesterday in Western Worcester District Court on charges of drunken driving, negligent driving, a marked lanes violation and speeding.
Leicester police had been alerted about 12:45 a.m. to the possibility of a drunken driver heading into town after Spencer police received a call from a convenience store clerk who reported a man has stopped to ask directions. The clerk said the man seemed confused, appeared to have urinated on himself and was driving a red Saturn.
Nearly an hour later, Officer Ronald Tarentino Jr. noticed a red Saturn and watched it pull into Cumberland Farms. The driver went into the store, came out and headed east. Officer Tarentino followed and wrote that he observed the car going 47 mph in an area posted at 35. He wrote that the car was drifting between the center line and the fog line and swerving as it neared one or the other.
Officer Tarentino stopped the car and asked Mr. Hussey to step out. When he did, Officer Tarentino discovered that Mr. Hussey had defecated on himself, according to the officer’s report.
Police wrote that two of the three field sobriety tests administered were “abandoned” when Mr. Hussey said he was done or could not do the tests. On a portable breath test, Mr. Hussey allegedly registered a .215. The legal limit in Massachusetts is .08. He declined a second breath test at the police station, where he was allowed to clean up and change his clothes.
As police were completing paperwork for Mr. Hussey’s $40 bail, he told Officer Tarentino, he was “going to plead guilty to this and asked me to keep the more embarrassing elements out of my report,” according to court documents.
Mr. Hussey is due back in court at 2 p.m. Thursday for a pretrial hearing. He could not be reached for comment last night.
A prominent public defender, Mr. Hussey was the subject of a 1994 controversy in which he was detained by state police who suspected he was driving while drunk. He was never charged in that case but was taken to the Holden state police barracks and a bail commissioner was called.
A trooper who was involved at the time said he intended to arrest Mr. Hussey, but Sgt. Albert M. Toney Jr. asked whether there was probable cause for the arrest and suggested Mr. Hussey be held in protective custody.
The incident led to a court martial for Sgt. Toney, who remains on the job today.
That incident also brought about a call for changes in recruit training for the state police, including specific instructions that field sobriety testing is not necessary to arrest a person for drunken driving, though state police officials said such training was already in place.
- John Steakley