NEWTON (CBS) – A Dorchester man charged with driving a van full of special needs adults while under the influence of drugs was ordered held on $5,000 bail Tuesday.
51-year-old Addis Woldeguiorguis pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Newton District Court.
Prosecutors said he was under the influence of oxycodone when the van he was driving crashed into a trash truck on Monday. Thirteen people were injured, three of them seriously.
Officers said Woldeguiorguis claimed he had taken the oxycodone for pain after recent foot surgery, but prosecutors alleged officers also found crack cocaine in a Ziploc bag in the van.
In court, Woldeguiorguis said the special needs adults in his van were his “people” and then said, “I got them out of the van.”
WBZ-TV’s Sera Congi reports.
He also acknowledged that he has had problems in the past.
“That is what it is in the past, and who I am today is someone different. I’ve had some difficulties,” said Woldeguiorguis.
Woldeguiorguis has a 40-page rap sheet in New York State, has warrants pending in several local courts, and five counts of ID fraud in Brookline District Court.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030′s Doug Cope reports.
“Addis is a good guy. He does have a long record but it doesn’t pertain to driving and he was getting his life together,” said a friend of Woldeguiorguis.