BOSTON (CBS) — A Rhode Island man with eight OUI’s under his belt was charged again in a Massachusetts courtroom on Monday.

Around 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, Vernon Perry, 52, of East Providence, was allegedly speeding and weaving in and out of his lane on Taunton Ave. when an officer pulled him over.

Perry was allegedly driving 52 miles per hour in a 40 miles per hour zone into Massachusetts on Taunton Ave.; authorities also allege he was crossing the yellow lines.

Perry’s vehicle was impounded.

Perry has eight prior impaired driving offenses on his record, but still has a valid license.

In Massachusetts, drivers can lose their license after a fifth OUI offense.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports.


During Perry’s arraignment Monday at Taunton District Court, Attorney James Hassan, the court-appointed lawyer who handled Perry’s bail hearing, told WBZ that Perry “understands what’s going on. He’s not happy he’s being held … But he understands what’s going on.”

Perry’s long history with OUIs goes back to the 1980s, when he was cited half-a-dozen times.  He was also convicted twice more in 2001, but at that time the state wasn’t allowed to look two decades back in his record and see his prior encounters. 

As a result, Perry lost his license for four years, getting it back in 2006.


It’s the same old story to Ron Bersami.  His granddaughter is Melanie Powell, the 13-year-old killed by a drunk driver in 2003.  The tougher drunk driving penalties in Melanie’s Law are named after her. 

When he heard about Perry’s case, Bersami knew the repeat offender was able to stay on the roads of the commonwealth because the laws allowed it.

“He didn’t get caught at a time when they could’ve looked back and done something about it,” says Bersami.

But as of 2002, thanks to a change in state law independent of the changes brought about by Melanie’s law, state officials are able to use a driver’s entire history when it needs to.


WBZ asked Ann Dufresne, Senior Communications Advisor at the Registry of Motor Vehicles, about this story. 

“We don’t comment on individual cases,” she replied via e-mail.  “But we can say the RMV exercised its full authority at the time of each conviction for OUI. The state now has the authority to look back over the lifetime of a driving record which we have done in this case, revoking [Perry’s] license for a lifetime.”

Perry is now being held without bail.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong contributed to this report.

Comments (7)
  1. bruinsfan says:

    WHY does this person still have the right to operate a vehicle and put all of our lives at risk?!

    1. Ed Dracut says:

      Driving is not a right it is a privlage so long as you operate with in the rules you can continue to drive. But in no way is it a right.

  2. Mark D says:

    No massachusettes judge will let him loose with this kind of story in the headlines. Remember this is the rhode island legal system he’s from. He has to obey Mass laws while driving in are state so lets take it away now judge..

  3. Ed Dracut says:

    So why is everyone surprised??? Is there a magical slot that you swipe your drivers licence into? Does it program you to drive or let you start your car. Hey wait that’s not a bad idea. If you don’t have a licence to swipe to start your car you can’t drive it.

  4. Ron Wiedemann says:

    So many times I read about drunk drivers killing or maiming someone while driving under the influence, many times without a valid license, their driving privileges having been previously suspended or revoked. I believe that any driver previously convicted of vehicular manslaughter (murder!) while “under the influence” should be permanently and physically rendered incapable of operating a motor vehicle.

    As Draconian as my solution may sound, the most effective method of accomplishing this would be to surgically or chemically remove the offender’s eyesight.

    I can guarantee that the recidivism rate would drop to zero and these offenders should be required to speak to schools about the danger of drunken driving. Their presentation will be much more effective with a white cane and a dog!

  5. dunnyboy says:

    Such a thirsty boy should walk!

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