Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Custodial dad arrested after dropping off child; now facing 6th drunk driving charge (Mystic, Connecticut)

Observe that you have to read through most of the verbage below to get to the fact that dad MICHAEL HEBERT has PHYSICAL CUSTODY of his 10-year-old daughter, despite a long history of drunken driving charges (he's now facing his SIXTH charge)--and non-payment of child support. The latest charge came about when Mom suspected that Dad was intoxicated before a scheduled child visitation drop-off. She also knew that he wasn't supposed to drive because his driver's license was suspended after his FIFTH DWI. Needless to say, Daddy's lawyer has the freaking nerve to accuse the mother of "manipulating the system" to get back at his client (the habitual drunk/custodial dad).

What freaking idiotic judge gave this boozer dad custody?

Repeat drunken driver arrested after dropping off child

By Julie Manganis
Staff writer

A father who had been issued a Connecticut driver's license despite a history of drunken driving is now facing his sixth drunken-driving charge after dropping his daughter off with her mother, a Gloucester resident.

Michael Hebert, 52, of Mystic, Conn., is also facing charges of child endangerment because, police say, he had his 10-year-old daughter in the truck as he drove from Maine to Danvers on Friday evening.

Hebert was arrested Friday by state police after they got a call from his former girlfriend, the child's mother.

The mother, Tammy Adams of Gloucester, told the troopers that she suspected Hebert was drunk behind the wheel and knew that he had no license in Massachusetts because of his prior convictions.

According to Hebert's driving history, his license was suspended for 10 years in 2007, after his fifth drunken-driving conviction.

Police say Adams told them that she feared he would try to take off from police with the girl in the car. Because of that, police waited for him to drop off the girl.

According to a police report, Adams arranged to change the location of the drop-off from Gloucester to a Beverly Hospital facility in Danvers that is across the highway from the state police barracks.

Troopers waited for Hebert to drop off the girl, then pulled him over on Route 62, prosecutor Patrick Collins said. Troopers noticed he was using his fog lights on a clear evening.

Collins told a judge that Hebert smelled of alcohol and admitted to drinking at lunch. He went on to fail several field sobriety tests and registered a .10 on a portable breath test for alcohol, though he later refused another alcohol breath test at the barracks after his arrest.

Because of Hebert's lengthy record, his refusal to take the breath test, Judge Richard Mori said, triggers a lifetime loss of license — at least in Massachusetts.

Hebert allegedly told police he believed that, if he had a license in one state, he could drive in any state.

Connecticut Registry of Motor Vehicles spokesman William Seymour confirmed that Hebert was first issued a license in that state in 2003. He said officials are now investigating why Hebert still had his license despite the Massachusetts suspension, which occurred in 2007.

Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles spokeswoman Ann Dufresne said that, when a license is suspended here, the information is entered into a national driver registry. When someone here applies for a new license or a conversion of another state's license, registry employees check that database and will not issue a license if they learn it is suspended in another state, she said.

According to Hebert's 12-page driving history, he was convicted of drunken driving in 2002 and 1982 in Essex, and in 2001, 1995 and 1988 in Gloucester. His history also includes repeated suspensions for other driving offenses, as well as for nonpayment of child support in 2005.

Hebert's attorney, William O'Hare, accused Adams of "manipulating the system" to get back at his client, who has physical custody of the girl despite his history.

He also said his client did not know about the license suspension in Massachusetts because it may have been sent to Adams' address. And O'Hare suggested that the portable breath test reading, which is not admissible in court, was until just a few years ago the legal limit.

"When you and I started out in the law," O'Hare told Judge Richard Mori, "it was .15. It's only gone down so the state could get federal highway money."

Mori was not persuaded by O'Hare, however, and granted Collins' request to hold Hebert without bail pending a dangerousness hearing scheduled for today.

He also told the prosecutor that Hebert's license should be confiscated and sent back to Connecticut.

If convicted, Hebert faces up to five years in state prison.