OUI charges for Pittsfield man who allegedly passed out while driving

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PITTSFIELD — A city man is facing drunken driving and other charges after he allegedly crashed into several signs on Thursday and then passed out in his running van in the middle of the road.

Washington Valero, 46, of Wahconah Street, had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.26 when he was found parked on Wellington Street — more than three times the legal limit to drive in Massachusetts, according to a report by Pittsfield Police Patrol Officer Nicholas Sondrini.

A witness told police they saw his van driving erratically with its lights off, striking some street signs. At one point, the witness said, he hit a stop sign and became stuck upon it until he "gunned" the engine to free the vehicle.

Police discovered the van stopped, with its engine running, in front of 33 Wellington.

When Sondrini shook Valero awake, he came to and tried to put the van into gear before being stopped by the officer.

Valero needed help removing his seat belt, Sondrini said, and had to support himself against the van. He was so unsteady on his feet that Sondrini determined it would be unsafe to conduct a field sobriety test.

Valero was taken into custody and booked at the Pittsfield Police Department, where he was administered the breath test.

He pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court on Friday to charges of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of liquor, unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of property damage and a marked lanes violation.

Judge William Rota released him on his own recognizance. He is due back in court on May 18 for a pretrial hearing.

Contact Bob Dunn at 413-496-6249.


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