By Jill Harmacinski STAFF WRITER
Newburyport Daily News
---- — NEWBURYPORT — A former Newburyport attorney who avoided jail time when he pleaded guilty to a serious hit-and-run accident in Lawrence is behind bars after he failed alcohol tests on Halloween morning.
Richard Heartquist, 43, of Plum Island, was taken to Middleton Jail on Nov. 2 — two days after he tested positive for alcohol use and a probation violation warrant was issued for him, according to court records.
Heartquist, whose law license has been indefinitely suspended, will remain held without bail at Middleton Jail until at least Nov. 28, when a hearing is scheduled in Peabody District Court. Heartquist was sentenced to 18 months in jail, suspended to two years. On Nov. 28, a judge has the authority to impose the jail sentence.
Court records show that at 6:35 a.m. on Oct. 31, Heartquist’s blood alcohol levels were measured at .055, .053, .052 and .053, according to court papers. A person is arrested for drunken driving when their blood alcohol level is .08 or above, according to Massachusetts law.
Heartquist took the alcohol tests on a sobrietor, a breath testing device he was court ordered to have installed in his home. The sobrietor is a breath test device that connects with a telephone and a voice recognition test is used to make sure it’s actually Heartquist who was giving the sample.
After the alcohol was detected, probation officer Anton Mataragos sought the probation violation warrant. Peabody District Court Judge Matthew Nestor found Heartquist in violation of probation and sent him to Middleton Jail on Nov. 2.
As of Oct. 1, Heartquist had his law license indefinitely suspended, according to an order issued by the Supreme Judicial Court for Suffolk County. He was ordered to notify all of his clients and associated courts of his suspended and the matter was referred to the Board of Bar Overseers “for such further proceedings as the board deems appropriate,” according to the order.
On June 25, Heartquist pleaded guilty to being at the wheel of a white Chevrolet Avalanche in December 2010 that crashed head-on into a Buick sedan being driven by Michael Baglieri, 37, of Methuen. The crash occurred at 354 Merrimack St. in Lawrence at 11:30 p.m., one week before Christmas.
Baglieri, a tree removal worker, was seriously injured in the crash. Heartquist fled the area on foot. He later told police the Chevrolet Avalanche, which was registered to his wife, Newburyport City Councilor Allison Heartquist, had been stolen while he was having a tryst with a woman he met at a nearby bar.
However, blood and hair samples taken from the driver’s side airbag and seat belt later matched Heartquist’s DNA.
At sentencing, Heartquist avoided jail time only because Baglieri asked a judge to make Heartquist pay him $21,000 in restitution. Judge Richard Mori sentenced Heartquist to 18 months in jail, suspended for two years.
Mori also ordered Heartquist to remain drug and alcohol free and have the sobrietor installed in his home. Heartquist’s probation requirements also prohibited him from traveling.
Heartquist also pleaded guilty to driving without a license and driving negligently. He was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay $400 in fees and fines.
According to court papers, Heartquist paid Baglieri $4,000 of the $21,000 restitution. On Sept. 26, he went before Nestor, asking for permission to travel away from home one to two times monthly for his new job as a commodities dealer. His attorney, Scott Gleason of Haverhill, noted he was suspended from practicing law and needed a job. If he couldn’t travel, Gleason said Heartquist would lose the position.
Gleason noted Heartquist paid some of the restitution to Baglieri but still “has a great deal more to pay.”
Nestor denied the request.