AMESBURY – A Lynn woman charged with a third offense of driving under the influence of drugs in October, pleaded guilty to the charge Friday in Newburyport District Court and will serve 150 days behind bars.
Karen Richard, 58, of Springvale Avenue, Lynn, was arrested on Oct. 23, around 6:25 p.m. on Route 110 in Amesbury shortly after she got off Interstate 95 north.
In Newburyport District Court on Friday, Judge Allen Swan sentenced Richard to 15 months in jail but suspended all but 150 days of her sentence for two years while she is on probation.
During probation she must remain drug and alcohol free with random screens and pay $1,250 in fines. She also lost her driver’s license for eight years.
According to a report, the state police received numerous calls from drivers about a person driving erratically on I-95 heading toward Newburyport.
State Trooper Jeffrey Bermani parked just north of the Newburyport exit and waited for the car to pass. Once that happened, he followed Richard and watched as she swerved from side to side in short jerking motions in the second travel lane. She eventually left the highway at the Route 110 exit in Amesbury. While on the exit ramp, Richard almost lost control twice before abruptly correcting herself. At the bottom of the ramp, Bermani pulled her over.
While she smelled of alcohol, it was later determined that she was under the influence of drugs, according to reports. She told Bermani she had a glass of wine after work and that she was on several medications and took two that are known to cause drowsiness before getting behind the wheel.
Richard agreed to take a series of field sobriety tests but failed enough of them for Bermani to charge her with driving while impaired. After handcuffing her, Bermani found four vodka nips in her sweatshirt.
Inside the SUV Bermani found two empty vodka nips. He said in her purse he found a baggie containing marijuana and a partially smoked hand rolled marijuana cigarette.
At the barracks, Richard blew a 0.03 blood alcohol level, below the legal drunken driving limit of 0.08. She was then charged with driving under the influence of drugs.
A check of Richard’s criminal history showed two previous convictions for driving under the influence in 2008 and 2009, both out of Lynn District Court, according to Bermani’s report.
Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.