SALISBURY – A local man facing his fourth charge of driving under the influence of alcohol was sentenced to two years in jail Wednesday after pleading guilty to that charge and three others in Newburyport District Court.
Nathan Forrest, 32, had just gotten out of jail for his third OUI conviction when he was found by a local firefighter slumped over his steering wheel near his Bridge Road home in mid-May.
Along with driving while under the influence (fourth offense), Forrest was charged with resisting arrest, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license due to OUI and numerous vehicle-related offenses.
In addition to spending two years in jail, with 136 days deemed served, Forrest lost his driver’s license for 10 years and was placed on four years of probation.
He was also ordered to remain drug and alcohol free with random screens and use a SCRAM monitoring device. His probation began immediately, meaning that if there were any problems while he’s behind bars, he could be given more jail time.
Salisbury police Officer Juan Guillermo spotted Forrest’s truck about 12:45 p.m. on May 17 and checked to investigate. He noticed a can of Natty Daddy beer in the front-seat cup holder of Forrest’s truck. Forrest was barely conscious as Guillermo began talking to him.
Minutes earlier, firefighters in a Salisbury fire engine stopped on Bridge Road to check on Forrest when they saw him slumped behind the wheel of his pickup. As a firefighter approached the truck, Forrest slowly drove it into his driveway.
Already notified by passing motorists of an erratic operator, Guillermo arrived in Forrest’s driveway a few minutes later. When Guillermo leaned into the truck, he found Forrest leaning back, dozing with the engine running. The officer saw the beer can and smelled alcohol coming from within the truck.
“When I opened the driver’s door, the operator later identified as Nathan Forrest woke up. Nathan immediately stated ‘I’m not driving.’ I asked Nathan for his operator license. He refused to produce the license and told me he was not driving,” Guillermo wrote in his report, adding that he recognized Forrest from an earlier OUI arrest.
When Guillermo told Forrest he was under arrest for drunken driving, Forrest walked away. As the officer tried to handcuff Forrest, he pulled away.
Aided by Sgt. Steven Sforza and Sgt. Jeremy Kelley, the three forced Forrest to the ground. Forrest continued to resist, prompting Guillermo to stun him with a Taser. It took two more jolts with the Taser before police could handcuff Forrest, according to Guillermo’s report.
Forrest was eventually driven to Anna Jaques Hospital in Newburyport after he told officers he felt like hurting himself.
Although he refused to take a blood-alcohol level test at the police station, hospital staff told Guillermo that Forrest’s blood-alcohol level was too high for them to make a mental health assessment at that time.
Staff writer Dave Rogers can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @drogers41008.