PITTSFIELD -- An 18-year-old who was caught driving without a license in a stolen city-owned maintenance vehicle was given a continuation without a finding of guilt.

At 3:15 a.m. on March 16, a Pittsfield Police officer stopped a van belonging to the city Building Maintenance Department after it nearly hit a parked car. The two occupants in the van fled on foot.

A few minutes later, the officer arrested Ernest Ferry, 18, of Seymour Street, and a 17-year-old juvenile, a few blocks away.

Ferry told police he and his friend found the van in Springside Park with the keys inside and the lights on and drove off with it.

The van had last been seen the previous Friday at the Building Maintenance Department office on Hawthorne Avenue. It was believed the keys were left in the van, according to a police report.

Both teens were charged with felony larceny of a motor vehicle and Ferry was additionally charged with driving without a license.

On Wednesday in the Jury of Six session of Central Berkshire District Court, Ferry pleaded to facts sufficient for a finding of guilt. If Ferry stays out of trouble for six months, the charges will be dropped. Judge Paul M. Vrabel also ordered Ferry to pay $350 in fines and fees.

The Berkshire District Attorney’s Office reduced the felony larceny charge to misdemeanor use of a motor vehicle without authority.

Prosecutor Daniel Hespeler told the court they wanted to give Ferry an "opportunity not to have a felony conviction on his record.


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" While Ferry has a juvenile record, he doesn’t have an adult record, said Hespeler. He asked for a one year continuation without a finding of guilt.

Ferry’s attorney, Joseph G. Vosit, said his client was still in high school and had good family support.

Because juvenile court documents are not publicly available, it was unclear what happened with the 17-year-old’s case.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
aamelinckx@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6249.
On Twitter: @BE_TheAmelinckx