PITTSFIELD -- A Chicopee man was sentenced to 150 days in jail Friday -- nearly 23 years after his arrest on a third-offense drunken driving charge.
Angel Ferrer, 52, was pulled over for speeding on North Street in Dalton on May 6, 1991, according to police and prosecutors, and subsequently arrested after he failed a series of sobriety tests and had a breath alcohol level over the legal limit.
When he was pulled over there were four adults and five children in his vehicle, according to a Dalton Police report.
Ferrer gave police his brother's license because his had been revoked for a previous drunken driving charge for which he was still on probation. He eventually admitted who he was, police said.
At the time of his arrest on the drunken driving charge, he had a one year suspended sentence hanging over his head for an earlier drunken driving charge.
He was supposed to show up for court two days after his arrest, but instead he fled and hadn't been heard from in more than 20 years, according to the Berkshire District Attorney's Office.
Ferrer was arrested in December in Chicopee on unrelated charges and was determined to have an outstanding warrant in Berkshire County.
He was held here after denying the charges and has been at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction for about three months awaiting the outcome of the case.
A bench trial was scheduled on Friday in Central Berkshire District Court, and the three arresting officers from Dalton PD, two of whom are now retired, were in court to testify. Instead, the DA's Office and Ferrer's attorney, Anthony Gianacopoulos, presented an agreed upon plea to the court of time served, two years of probation and a $500 fine.
Gianacopoulos said his client had a variety of health issues, including heart disease, and had already served 90 days in jail.
Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Andrew Giarolo told the court that Ferrer had basically stayed out of trouble for nearly 23 years and that whatever alcohol problems he had in the 90s had apparently been worked out.
The probation department was against the idea of another probation term and was additionally asking that Ferrer's previous probation be terminated and the one year suspended sentence be imposed.
Judge Paul M. Vrabel said he would not impose probation on a case from 1991, and would give Ferrer a "Hobson's Choice, which is really no choice at all."
The judge was making a reference to Thomas Hobson, a 17th century English stable owner who only offered his customers one horse to choose from.
Vrabel told Ferrer he would sentence him to 150 days on the drunken driving charge, terminate his probation and not impose the suspended sentence.
Ferrer pleaded guilty to third offense drunken driving and agreed to the judge's sentence of 150 days in jail. He was given credit for the time he has been in jail awaiting the outcome of the case.
To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
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