AMESBURY – A local man charged with his 10th drunken-driving offense in September was recently indicted in Superior Court, setting the stage for a possible lengthy jail sentence if he is found guilty.
A check of 54-year-old Robert Sheridan's record shows drunken-driving convictions in Massachusetts and New Hampshire dating back to 1989. His driver's license was revoked for life in 2005.
At Sheridan's arraignment in September, an Essex County prosecutor said he has already served jail time and could see much more since an indictment in Superior Court was possible.
Three witnesses saw Sheridan drive a Dodge Ram pickup erratically on Elm Street (Route 110) and Old Elm Street on Sept. 10 about 4:30 p.m., according to court records. One witness saw Sheridan miss a turn onto Old Elm Street and drive over a small traffic island before striking a stop sign.
"The truck never attempted to stop and sped off quickly down Old Elm Street towards Rabbit Road," Salisbury police Sgt. Timothy Hunter wrote in his report.
Another witness was driving on Route 110 when he saw Sheridan slam into a street sign and continue without stopping, according to court records.
The third witness was about three car lengths behind Sheridan when he saw the pickup veer over the center lane of Route 110 and into the breakdown lane. He then saw Sheridan attempt the turn onto Old Elm Street and hit the stop sign.
Hunter caught up with Sheridan on Main Street near the former Plains School and clocked him traveling 45 mph in a 30 mph zone. Hunter also saw him drift to the right until both passenger-side tires struck the curb.
Upon pulling Sheridan over, Hunter smelled an overwhelming odor of alcohol coming from him. Sheridan was unable to give the officer his registration and admitted he didn't have a driver's license. Sheridan also admitted he had a few drinks before getting behind the wheel.
Sheridan was very unsteady on his feet after Hunter asked him to walk to the back of his truck. After Hunter performed a series of field sobriety tests on Sheridan, the officer determined he was driving under the influence and placed him under arrest.
A check of the truck revealed that its registration was canceled a few weeks earlier and belonged to a woman with the same address as Sheridan.
"The vehicle was full of construction tools and equipment and it seems as though Robert was using this on a daily basis to make a living," Hunter wrote in his report.
Police soon determined that Sheridan had been convicted of driving under the influence at least eight times with another charge possibly continued without a finding, according to court records.