Pittsfield police: Man fled accident, is charged with third OUI


PITTSFIELD -- A repeat drunken driver who allegedly fled the scene of an accident and led police on a foot chase is being held on $500 bail after pleading not guilty to five charges.

Keith V. Stringer, 43, of Maplewood Avenue, remains at the Berkshire County Jail & House of Correction as of Friday afternoon after allegedly driving drunk, ramming into the back of a van at the intersection of King and Linden streets, and then fleeing police on Thursday night. The woman whose van was hit told police she was not injured.

According to Massachusetts State Police, at about 9:40 p.m. Thursday, a trooper responded to the scene of a hit and run accident and was told the other driver had just left the scene. The trooper located the sport utility vehicle involved in the accident and followed it on to King Street.

Stringer allegedly fled on foot into a nearby stand of woods and only stopped when the trooper pulled his gun, according to the report. After his arrest he failed field sobriety tests and appeared to be intoxicated, said police.

On Friday in Central Berkshire District Court, Stringer pleaded not guilty to third-offense drunken driving, leaving the scene of an accident, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, driving with a suspended license as a subsequent offense, and failing to stop for police.

Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Joseph Yorlano told the court that Stringer had a long record that included assaultive behavior and that he had two previous drunken driving convictions. He asked for $10,000 cash bail for the defendant.

Stringer’s attorney, Kenneth G. Warren, argued that his client’s two previous drunken driving convictions happened a few months apart in 1991, more than 20 years ago. The attorney said Stringer was holding down a job and paying child support for his two children. He asked that Stringer be released on his own recognizance.

Judge Fredric D. Rutberg set bail at $500. The judge ordered that if Stringer posts bail, he can’t drive, do drugs or drink alcohol. Stringer will be subject to random drug and alcohol testing, the judge said.

A pretrial hearing is scheduled for Sept. 24.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
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