By Dave Rogers
---- — NEWBURYPORT - The North End Boat Club bartender allegedly driving drunk when he smashed head-on into another car on the Gillis Bridge killing one of his passengers, was in Newburyport District Court for the first time since the fatal New Year’s Eve crash.
A pretrial hearing for Mikhael Sarkis, 50, of Lawrence, was expected to take place yesterday but that hearing was postponed until Feb. 28, according to a court official. Sarkis, who was seriously injured in the crash which killed his 41-year-old girlfriend Donna Bergeron of East Hampstead, N.H., has been in a Boston-area hospital for weeks and appeared to be in pain while visiting the courthouse, according to the same court official.
Police believe Sarkis was drunk and had just left the marina when he got behind the wheel of his car with two passengers and began driving toward Salisbury. Sarkis got onto the bridge in the wrong direction, heading north in the southbound lane, when he crashed into a Mercury Marquis driven by 20-year-old Salisbury resident Corey Burgess. Burgess was wearing a seat belt and escaped serious injury.
The crash killed Bergeron and injured Sarkis’ other passenger, 62-year-old Clifford Pollard of Salisbury. No one in the Lincoln Town Car was wearing seat belts. Had they been buckled in, Bergeron’s life would have been saved, authorities believe.
Sarkis is being held on $100,000 cash bail.
Local police and the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission are investigating whether the private marina and social club on Manson Avenue played a role in the accident.