WOONSOCKET — Thanks to some conscientious motorists equipped with cell phones, the cops had the drop on two impaired motorists this weekend, but not soon enough to keep them from causing accidents.
On Saturday, a Plainville, Mass., man police suspect of driving under the influence of heroin struck an oncoming car on Cumberland Street about 6:40 p.m.
Duane A. Gero, 33, was charged with duty to stop resulting in damage to an attended vehicle, driving under the influence of liquor or intoxicating substance, laned roadway violations, operating left of center and failure to wear a seatbelt.
A dispatcher had already received at least one call about Gero’s erratic driving before he struck the vehicle and fled the scene, according to reports.
When police caught up with him, Patrolman Andrew Girard followed Gero, with siren blaring and overheads flashing, for three tenths of a mile on Cumberland Street before the operator pulled over.
Girard reported that Gero seemed “heavily intoxicated,” but he denied drinking. He agreed to take a breath test, the results of which indicated there was no alcohol in his system.
That’s when police noticed several empty glassine baggies and used hypodermic syringes strewn about Gero’s 2001 Volvo. Police said they also noticed bruises on Gero’s arm consistent with those of an intravenous heroin user. Gero agreed to provide police with a sample of his blood as evidence.
The other driver was identified as Joshua J. Wells, 37, of Pawtucket. Police said his car was damaged, but he wasn’t injured.
In an unrelated incident on Sunday, police said a pickup truck operated by Zachary Maiovana of Blackstone struck two utility poles, one after the other, near the North End at about 8:12 p.m.
That was moments after they got a call at headquarters from a female motorist who said she was following a green pickup after the driver nearly struck her head-on.
As the woman followed Maiovana, 20, his Ford F150 smashed into a pole at Privilege and Winter streets, backed up and then took off. As he fled, he allegedly struck another pole on Barton Street, then took off again. Police caught up with him at Winter and North Main streets.
Police said Maiovana was visibly intoxicated, registering .17 on a breath test. He was charged with drunken driving over .15 and operating on a suspended license. He was also cited for operating without headlights, operating an unregistered motor vehicle and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident involving a highway fixture.