PITTSFIELD -- A city man who police say was highly intoxicated at the wheel of his Jeep -- with his two young children inside -- has been sentenced to serve 10 days in jail.
Thomas J. Dugan, 40, of Forest Place, apparently passed out in his Jeep in a restaurant parking lot on Tyler Street, and it rolled backward into a parked pickup truck on Plunkett Street, according to Pittsfield police.
As it rolled, the Jeep nearly hit the truck's owner, Anthony Arlos, 47, who had been unloading it at the time, police said. Arlos then ran after Dugan, who began to drive north on Plunkett Street, in an attempt to keep him from leaving the scene.
Dugan stopped the Jeep and got out, but the vehicle again began rolling backward with the children still inside, police said. Arlos leapt into the vehicle and put it in park.
The children, 2 and 5, were not harmed.
The incident took place around 3 p.m. on Sept. 14.
Dugan smelled of alcohol, had bloodshot eyes and slurred speech when police arrived, they said. Dugan failed several field sobriety tests and had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.29 -- more than three times the legal limit.
He allegedly told police he had consumed a pint of Southern Comfort about three hours earlier at his house before deciding to take his children to eat at Hot Harry's Burritos. When asked if he had in fact made it into the restaurant, Dugan gave two different answers, police said.
A witness told the officers that Dugan had been parked at the restaurant for about 20 minutes and that he appeared to be passed out behind the wheel.
Dugan pleaded guilty in Central Berkshire District Court on Tuesday to single counts of first offense drunken driving and child endangerment. Judge Fredric D. Rutberg sentenced Dugan to a two-year sentence at the Berkshire House of Correction, with 10 days to be served and the rest of the time suspended for a year. He will be on probation until Oct. 21, 2014.
Dugan's attorney, William B. Barry, said his client was "extremely remorseful," understood the seriousness of the case, had no previous criminal record, and had sought alcohol treatment on his own initiative. Dugan is currently allowed supervised visits with his children, said the lawyer. Barry was asking for a suspended sentence for Dugan.
The Berkshire District Attorney's Office was asking for a 2 1/2 year suspended sentence with six months to be served.
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