Vermont man faces 3rd OUI charge after near-miss in Williamstown


NORTH ADAMS — A Vermont man with a history of drunken driving arrests is facing new charges after he was allegedly caught driving with a blood alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit.

Gary Hall, 44, of North Pownal, was heading south on Cold Spring Road in Williamstown about 4 p.m. Tuesday when he nearly struck a northbound Dodge Ram driven by an off-duty Lanesborough Police officer, according to a probable cause report filed by Williamstown Police Officer Preston Kelly.

The off-duty officer reported the driver had crossed the center yellow lines multiple times.

Kelly caught up with the vehicle on North Street and also observed it cross into the southbound lane on two occasions, the report stated.

Hall allegedly smelled of alcohol and his eyes were glassy and bloodshot, the report stated. An open can of Busch beer — half empty and still cold — was allegedly sitting in the center cup holder. In the second row of seats officers allegedly discovered a 12-pack of empty cans.

Hall initially told officers he had consumed two beers after leaving work at 3 p.m., according to the report. He allegedly failed all field sobriety tests and a breath test showed him to have a blood alcohol content of 0.23 percent.

After failing the tests, Hall allegedly admitted to consuming "a lot more than two" beers.

He pleaded not guilty in Northern Berkshire District Court on Wednesday to single counts of operating under the influence, third offense, possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, and a marked lanes violation. He was last convicted of operating under the influence in 2013, according to court records.

Judge Paul H. Smyth set Hall's bail at $7,500 and, should he post bail, ordered that he refrain from alcohol. He is next scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 30 for a pretrial hearing.

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.


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