, Newburyport, MA

December 13, 2011

Local police sgt. sentenced for drunk driving

By Lynne Hendricks

— NEWBURYPORT - A former Seabrook police sergeant was sentenced to 18 months probation Tuesday after being found guilty by Newburyport District Court Judge Peter Doyle for drunken driving following a multi-car crash on North End Boulevard in Salisbury on the last day of July.

Mark F. Preston, 51, of 815 Lafayette Road, Seabrook, was also sentenced to 18 months probation for leaving the scene of personal injury, avoiding the potential of up to two years in jail. Those charged with drunken driving for the first time are not often sent to jail.

Essex County District Attorney spokesman Steve O’Connell said Preston, a 30-year-plus veteran of the force until his resignation and a former state representative, admitted to sufficient facts on the drunken driving charges. By admitting to sufficient facts, Preston acknowledged a jury could have found him guilty. O’Connell said the leaving the scene of person injury charge was generally continued for 18 months meaning as long as he adheres to the condition of his probation, the charge will be dismissed. A third charge, marked lanes violation was dropped. 

Under the terms of his probation, Preston must remain drug and alcohol free with random screens, give up his driver’s license for 90 days, complete an alcohol safety awareness program and pay $600 in fines.

Prosecutor Maura Bailey had petitioned for two years probation while Preston’s attorney, Gerard LaFlamme was seeking 18 months probation but only a 60-day loss of license, according to court documents. 

Preston did not return a phone call seeking comment on the judge’s decision.