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May 10, 2013

Drunken-driving case transferred to superior court

NEWBURYPORT — A Newburyport man will face his fifth drunk driving charge in superior court after he allegedly was so intoxicated he was in two accidents in less than half an hour.

Michael J. Lieber, 52, 1 Charles St., Apt. 104, had his charges dismissed at Newburyport District Court on Tuesday and will face indictment and arraignment in superior court related to multiple charges from two late January accidents in Salisbury. Among the charges are: driving while under the influence of alcohol (fifth offense), two counts of driving after license suspension for driving while under the influence of alcohol, two counts of leaving the scene of property damage, two counts of possession of class C drugs, possession of class E drugs and threat to commit crime.

According to Salisbury police, the incidents with Lieber unfolded quickly on Thursday, Jan. 31, beginning about 6 p.m., when the station received a call from Beach Cove Cabins. According to police Chief Thomas Fowler, Lieber and a female companion had pulled into Beach Cove Cabins requesting a room. After being refused a room, Lieber drove off, striking a retaining wall and didn’t stop at the scene.

Salisbury officer Michael Tullercash got a description of the car and its New Hampshire license plate number from the proprietor at Beach Cove Cabins, and issued a “be-on-the-lookout” alert for the vehicle, noting the driver was allegedly intoxicated.

However, within 15 minutes of this report, Salisbury police got another call from the victim of a hit-and-run accident at the intersection of Toll Road and Pike Street. Fowler said the victim, an off-duty Newburyport police officer, was driving his own vehicle.

“The victim reported he was traveling south on Toll Road and had a green light,” Fowler said at the time. “As he entered the intersection, a vehicle traveling north cut in front of him turning east and striking him head-on. He said the vehicle drove east and had appeared to be stopping, but just kept driving east.”

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