NEWBURYPORT — A former North Andover special education teacher accused of her third offense of driving under the influence of alcohol pleaded guilty to that charge and two others Thursday in Newburyport District Court and was sentenced to five months in jail, with most of the time suspended while she is on probation.
Cory Soroka, 29, of Amesbury, was arrested on Sept. 5 after slamming her car into a row of grocery carts being pushed back into Stop & Shop by an employee.
In addition to OUI, Soroka was charged with negligent operation of a motor vehicle and leaving the scene after property damage. Following her arraignment on Sept. 6 in the same courthouse, Soroka was found to be a danger to society and held without bail pending trial.
After Soroka pleaded guilty to all charges, Judge Peter Doyle sentenced her to a year in jail with five months to be served. She was given credit for 28 days behind bars. The remaining jail time was suspended for 30 months while she is on probation and she lost her driver’s license for eight years. While on probation, Soroka must remain drug and alcohol free with random screens and wear a SCRAM monitoring device.
Doyle allowed her to spend her sentence at the Women In Transition facility, a minimum security prerelease complex in Salisbury overseen by the Essex County Sheriff’s Department.
Soroka was charged with driving while under the influence twice within a period of nine months between 2013 and 2014, according to court records.
Before Soroka was sentenced, her attorney told Doyle that she had been fired from her teaching job because of her latest arrest.
Essex County prosecutor Shailagh Kennedy said that in addition to Soroka’s three OUI charges, she was involved in three previous crashes, including one where she fled the scene. Kennedy also highlighted the seriousness of the latest arrest because it resulted in a near collision with a Stop & Shop employee.
“We’re not talking about her clipping a car,” Kennedy said.
Soroka hit a car while parking inside the Macy Street Stop & Shop, according to a police report. After shopping, she drove her white Mazda sport utility vehicle into a row of shopping carts about 4:20 p.m. and then turned onto Macy Street.
Amesbury police Officer Denis Champagne caught up with her but when he turned on his blue lights, Soroka kept on driving. Even after he began blaring his siren, she continued on. She eventually stopped when her car was blocked by a landscaping truck.
Champagne said when he was speaking with her he immediately noticed a strong odor of alcohol coming from inside her SUV. Champagne said he pulled her over because she hit a parked car and the grocery carts. Soroka denied hitting anything and told Champagne she was sober.
The officer arrested her minutes later.
Officer Danielle Bower also arrived and found two witnesses who said they saw Soroka hit the shopping carts. Police said when they searched her SUV, they found a portable breath test machine and a laminated note affixed just below the start button. The note appeared to be reminders not to drink and drive and a list of people she should call before doing so.
Champagne also found an empty box of wine and two full boxes. He also obtained Stop & Shop video footage of her driving in the parking lot, he wrote in his report.
Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.