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I-93 chase ends in crash, OUI arrest

Holliston man has history of drunken driving charges

By Brian R. Ballou
Globe Staff / June 9, 2011

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WOBURN — Prosecutors said five-time drunken driving offender Frank Ceccaroni was at it again early yesterday — drunk and behind the wheel. But this time he drove a stolen car more than 130 miles per hour and almost hit highway construction workers and state troopers on detail before crashing into a tractor-trailer, authorities said.

“It was an extremely dangerous event,’’ said Amanda Rowan, Middlesex assistant district attorney, during Ceccaroni’s arraignment yesterday afternoon on a litany of charges.

The high-speed chase started at 1 a.m. on Interstate 93 in Stoneham and ended when the Holliston man slammed into the rear of a moving trailer truck, authorities said. Ceccaroni, 47, hit the truck with so much force that his car, a 2005 Infiniti G35, got stuck and was dragged a short distance before the truck driver managed to come to a stop in a breakdown lane in Medford, authorities said.

Emergency crews had to cut the car’s mangled roof to get to Ceccaroni, and he was rushed to Massachusetts General Hospital with head injuries. Those injuries proved minor enough for Ceccaroni to attend his arraignment. His breathing was heavy as he entered the courtroom, his shaven head and forehead partially covered with gauze bandages. He was wearing two light-colored hospital gowns.

Ceccaroni was charged in Woburn District Court with 11 offenses, including operating under the influence of liquor sixth offense, receiving a stolen motor vehicle, receiving stolen property, attaching plates, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license.

His attorney, Lisa Kavanaugh, entered a not guilty plea on his behalf. She also suggested to Judge Paul Yee that her client’s conduct falls within Section 35 in Chapter 123 of the Commonwealth’s general laws. The section defines an alcoholic as someone who has lost self-control and risks his or her health and livelihood because of dependency.

Yee ordered Ceccaroni held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing Monday. Ceccaroni was also put on suicide watch, court documents said.

Authorities said the car Ceccaroni was driving was reported stolen June 1 from Mass Auto Exchange in Framingham.

In his report, State Trooper Peter Stanley said he first noticed the red Infiniti because it was swerving and the license plates did not have a proper registration decal. He said he entered the plate number into his computer and discovered the plates belonged to a green Dodge Caravan. The plates were also reported stolen June 1. Stanley then pulled the car over.

The trooper said he noticed a strong odor of alcohol. He asked Ceccaroni for his license multiple times because he gave him credit cards instead. When he asked for the registration, Ceccaroni purportedly got the owner’s manual and vehicle inspection report.

When Stanley returned to his cruiser to check Ceccaroni’s license, the suspect sped away, the trooper said. Ceccaroni allegedly traveled southbound on I-93 into Somerville.

A trooper who was pulling his cruiser out of a detail to assist in the chase was nearly hit by Ceccaroni, as were other troopers involved and nearby construction workers, according to Stanley. Ceccaroni allegedly continued at a high speed into Medford. Shortly after the on-ramp to Route 16, he veered into the next lane and crashed into the tractor-trailer, authorities said.

The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured.

Ceccaroni’s most recent drunken driving conviction was in Maine. It stemmed from a Nov. 19, 2005, arrest. He was convicted in New Hampshire of operating under the influence in 1995. In Massachusetts, he was convicted of drunken driving based on a Dec. 12, 2001, arrest in Burlington. He refused to take a chemical breath test, but was found guilty of the charge on June 26, 2002, according to the Registry of Motor Vehicles.

In 1987, he was convicted twice for drunken driving following arrests in Holliston and Ashland, the records show.

He has also been found responsible for at least three accidents since he started driving, and has been cited for speeding at least three times. He has also been the subject of arrest warrants issued by district courts in Dedham, Natick, Woburn, and Framingham for reasons including driving violations and non-driving criminal charges, records show.

Ceccaroni was issued his first motor vehicle violation in 1984, when he was charged with operating an unregistered car in Framingham, Registry records show.

Ballou can be reached at bballou@globe.com; Ellement at ellement@globe.com.