HAVERHILL (CBS) – He’s a veteran Haverhill police officer, 60-year-old Francis Rogers now on the other side of the law.
He’s accused of drunk driving, and witnesses say erratic driving, when he allegedly sideswiped several cars on South Main Street, leaving a trail of debris.
“I saw a vehicle coming around the corner driving kind of erratic and smashed into three cars, one, two, three, bam, bam,” said a witness who works at a nearby restaurant and did not want to be identified.
Christopher McNulty says he heard a sound that scared him from his apartment above the crash scene. He says Rogers made an illegal U-turn and nearly clipped another car before he forced him to pull over. “I caught him back here in traffic and told him I had his license plate don’t bother going anywhere,” said McNulty.
John Rampulla came out of work late Thursday night and found damage to his vehicle including a cracked side panel. He’s surprised it’s a police officer accused. “I feel bad, you would think they would know better. I hope he gets help.”
Rogers has been charged with drunk driving before, even ordered into a DWI alcohol program. Police say in this case his eyes were glassy and his speech was slurred. According to witnesses he was unsteady during a field sobriety test. “He was wobbly saying ‘I’m alright’, but obviously he wasn’t alright.”
According to the police report Rogers claims he was cut off and denied accounts he tried to leave the scene. Christopher McNulty says he hopes Rogers, who was arraigned in Haverhill District Court on drunk driving charges, is held accountable. “To be honest nobody wants to be in that situation but we all choose to make the wrong decision,” he said.
Rogers is now on paid administrative leave and is due back in court on February 28.