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Newton firefighter charged with driving under the influence

Posted November 25, 2008 03:22 PM

A Newton fire lieutenant was charged with driving under the influence of drugs and other offenses after police say he allegedly fled the scene of an accident and led them on a foot chase through a Newton neighborhood Saturday, court papers show.

Daniel Doherty, 41, of Newton, was arraigned Monday in Newton District Court on charges of operating under the influence, drugs, third offense; leaving the scene of property damage; and disorderly conduct. He entered a plea of not guilty and was committed to Bridgewater State Hospital for 30 days of observation, said Cathy Coughlin, assistant clerk magistrate.

Police were called to the scene of a traffic accident at about 10:50 a.m. on Saturday at the intersection of Washington and Walnut streets, where Doherty’s Ford F150 had hit a tree, the police report states.

Several people attempted to stop Doherty when he began walking away from the scene, and he ran north on Walnut Street after a police officer asked him to stop, according to the report. Doherty ran onto Foster Street and jumped into the backyards of several houses before he was arrested in the backyard of a home on Page Street, the report says.

‘‘He was unable to walk by himself. He was unable to get up off the ground by himself and had to be lifted by several officers. There was a very strong smell of burnt marijuana on his person. His eyes were very watery and bloodshot,’’ according to an account by one of the arresting officers in the police report.

Doherty’s next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 23. The court also revoked bail on a case pending against him in Dedham.

Doherty was charged with assault and battery of a police officer, malicious damage to a motor vehicle, and disorderly conduct in connection with an Oct. 13 incident involving a Dedham police officer, said David Traub, spokesman for the Norfolk district attorney’s office. Doherty was arraigned and released on $2,000 bail, and a pretrial hearing is scheduled for Dec. 19.

The fire lieutenant was placed on 30 days unpaid medical leave this week in response to his arrest Saturday, city spokesman Jeremy Solomon said. He said the city was already in the process of negotiating a disciplinary hearing date with the firefighters’ union following Doherty’s arrest in Dedham.

‘‘We were also trying to see if we could get him some help,’’ Solomon said.

Assistant Fire Chief Bruce Proia said that ‘‘the department has no comment at this time.’’

For more coverage of Newton, go to Boston.com/Newton

-- Rachana Rathi

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