Ex-Mass. Pike chief admits drunken driving

November 30, 2010

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HAVERHILL, Mass.—The former head of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority admitted Tuesday that he was driving drunk when he crashed his SUV into two parked cars in August.

Matthew Amorello was ordered to give up his driver's license for 45 days and to pay more than $500 in fines.

Under his admission to "sufficient facts" to charges of operating under the influence and leaving the scene of an accident, Amorello did not plead guilty, but acknowledged that if the case went to trial, there would be sufficient evidence for a jury to convict.

Judge Stephen Abany continued his case without a finding for one year. If Amorello stays out of trouble during that time, the charges will be dismissed.

Amorello was arrested in August after his Ford Explorer struck two parked cars on a street in Haverhill. Police said he continued to drive it even though a wheel had fallen off. The vehicle was later found at a car dealership with a wheel missing and Amorello alone inside.

After his appearance in Haverhill District Court Tuesday, Amorello said he regretted his actions.

"I made a terrible mistake, and I'll pay the consequences for that mistake," he told reporters.

Amorello, a former state senator, was appointed in 2002 to lead the Turnpike Authority, which oversaw the $15 billion Big Dig highway project. He resigned under pressure from then-Gov. Mitt Romney in 2006 after a portion of a tunnel ceiling fell on a car, killing a Boston woman.