BYFIELD – When police arrested a Reading woman Friday morning for allegedly driving under the influence of drugs, her car was in a Parker River Drive backyard, hundreds of feet from the road, according to police records. 

The woman, Nicole A. Pustorino, 25, of Lewis Street, was arraigned Monday in Newburyport District Court on charges of driving while under the influence of drugs, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, possession of a Class E drug and wanton destruction of property more than $1,200. The property damage charge stems from the damage police say she caused to the homeowner's lawn. 

She was ordered held on $1,500 cash bail on the new charges, but because she was awaiting trial on older charges out of Lowell District Court, Pustorino was ordered held without bail for violating conditions of her release. She is due back in court on March 10 for a pretrial hearing. Before her next court appearance, Pustorino is expected to enter a detoxification facility. 

Police received word of a disabled car about 10 a.m. Friday. The caller, a AAA tow truck driver, said there were several tire tracks in the yard, according to a police report.  

"But he was most concerned about his tow truck digging up the lawn to try to pull the vehicle out. Finally (the caller) told me that he felt the operator of the vehicle was very intoxicated," Newbury police Officer John Lucey III wrote in his report. 

The caller also told Lucey that Pustorino tried to convince him that she lived there. 

Lucey walked to a Ford Fusion that was stuck in snow and mud at the edge of the yard and a section of woods. Pustorino, who was behind the wheel, asked why he was there. 

Lucey told her the AAA driver was worried about her. The officer asked how she got so far off the road. She told him she drove over some ice as she was driving to a friend's home. When asked if she knew where she was, Pustorino, with a slurred voice, said she wasn't familiar with the area, the officer wrote in his report.

Parker River Drive is a dead-end street off Central Court, and the house she drove behind was one of the last houses on the street. 

Pustorino got out of the car and appeared very unsteady on her feet. 

"I noticed she wasn't wearing any shoes and her pants appeared to be on inside-out," Lucey wrote in his report. 

Pustorino failed a series of field sobriety tests, but when she took a portable blood-alcohol level test, the reading came back negative. 

"At this time, I formed the opinion that Nicole was under the influence of drugs," Lucey wrote. 

Once Pustorino realized she was being arrested, she became argumentative. After being placed in Lucey's cruiser, she began ramming her head into the partition between the back and front seats. She was eventually taken to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport for evaluation. 

In Pustorino's car, police said they found hypodermic needles, glass pipes with burned residue, a bottle of prescription-strength ibuprofen belonging to someone else and two Suboxone bottles prescribed to her. Inside a purse, Lucey found a lighter, cotton balls, copper scrubber material, a sock and several pen pieces. 

"Through my training experience I know that cotton balls and hypodermic needles are common for heroin use," Lucey wrote, adding that copper scrubbers and glass pipes are often used to smoke crack cocaine or methamphetamine. 

Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at drogers@newburyportnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.

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