Clarksburg man facing fourth drunken driving charge

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NORTH ADAMS — A Clarksburg man was hit with his fourth drunken driving charge on Wednesday after crashing his SUV into a guardrail.

Joseph Burnett, 47, was found standing next to his heavily damaged Ford Explorer about 10:32 p.m. after apparently careening into a guardrail on Middle Road, according to the criminal complaint filed by Clarksburg Police Officer Samantha Haines. He was not injured in the accident.

In nearby snow, police spotted an empty bottle of hard cider and a nip bottle of vodka.

Burnett smelled of alcohol, police said, and he admitted to consuming a few hard ciders and a nip of vodka "a few hours ago."

After a series of field sobriety tests, Burnett was determined to be intoxicated and was arrested.

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An initial breath test showed Burnett to have a blood alcohol content of 0.27 percent, more than three times the legal limit to drive. A subsequent test conducted at the North Adams Police Department yielded a result of 0.23 percent.

Burnett pleaded not guilty in Northern Berkshire District Court on Thursday to single counts of operating under the influence, fourth offense; negligent operation of a motor vehicle; operating an uninsured motor vehicle; a number plate violation to conceal identity; and operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license.

Citing a previous violation of probation on a drunken driving charge and Burnett's history of alcohol-related offenses, Judge William Rota allowed a motion by the Berkshire District Attorney's Office to hold Burnett on dangerousness until July 10.

He is next scheduled to appear April 12 for a pretrial hearing.

Adam Shanks can be reached at ashanks@berkshireeagle.com, at @EagleAdamShanks on Twitter, or 413-629-4517.


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