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Hingham Scanner Tales: Man arrested for OUI, fourth offense

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  September 3, 2013 10:15 AM

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Stephen Barnes Booking Image[1].jpg

A New Bedford man will face charges of Operating Under the Influence for the fourth time after allegedly driving while intoxicated over Labor Day weekend.

According to police, an officer was on patrol on Sunday at 3:08 a.m., traveling north on Lincoln Street when he noticed a truck traveling slowly ahead of him in the same direction weaving from lane to lane.

The truck was driving approximately 20-25 mph in a posted 40 mph zone, and at one point the truck almost drove off the road, police said.

According to police, the officer began a traffic stop as the truck crossed over the Back River Bridge into Weymouth, almost striking the side of the bridge. Hingham police said Weymouth police gave the officer permission to conduct the stop in Weymouth due to the dangerous operation of the vehicle and risk to public safety.

The truck stopped on Bridge Street in Weymouth and the officer approached the suspect.

According to police, the driver had a strong odor of alcohol coming off him, and his eyes were red, glassy, and bloodshot.

The driver refused to provide any identification or registration, and the officer couldn’t understand the man because his speech was so slurred, police said.

As the driver stepped out of the car to perform field sobriety tests, he swayed and almost fell over, the officer grabbing him to prevent him from falling.

Although the driver attempted to begin the tests, he was unable to maintain his balance and couldn’t continue, police said.

The suspect was arrested and transported to the police station. According to police, the suspect fell asleep in the rear of the cruiser’s car on the way to the station.

Police said they found a ¾ full can of Natural Ice Beer in the front console of the truck, and on the passenger floor found an open, almost empty bottle of Jack Daniel’s rum.

The truck, a 2004 $150 registered to a relative from Rhode Island, was towed from the scene.

Stephen B. Barnes, 51, from New Bedford, was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol (fourth offense), driving with a revoked license for operating under the influence while operating under the influence, operating to endanger, driving with an open container of alcohol, driver refusal to identify themselves, and a marked lanes violation.

Barnes was held without bail by the Clerk Magistrate, and will be arraigned Tuesday at Hingham District Court.

Barnes has been convicted of drunk driving three times prior, including in Wareham in 1988, in Chicopee in 1992, and in the state of Wyoming in 2008.

In 2008, Barnes’s Massachusetts driver license was revoked for eight years due to the drunk driving convictions. Under Melanie’s Law, a conviction for operating under the influence while a license is suspended or revoked for a prior OUI carries a minimum mandatory sentence of one year to be served in addition to any other sentence.

A fourth offense operating under the influence charge is a felony, police said.

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