Lawrence city clerk arrested on drunken driving charge

Lawrence police have arrested the city’s clerk on drunken driving charges after he allegedly forced another car off the road and onto the porch of a house on South Union Street and failed a breathalyzer test, police said.

William J. Maloney, 56, was arraigned in Lawrence District Court today on operating under the influence and marked lane violation charges, said Carrie Kimball Monahan, a spokeswoman for the Essex County district attorney. A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf and he was ordered not to drive until his license is reinstated 30 days from Wednesday. He will also be subject to random alcohol tests until his trial, she said.

The arrest Wednesday was Maloney’s second for drunken driving. The first was in 1993 in Salisbury, according to his driving record. No one was injured in Wednesday’s crash.

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He did not return calls made to his home and office.

“So far [Maloney] hasn’t shown anything different, and in the past he’s always done great work,” Lawrence City Council President Frank Moran said. “If we see something affecting his job, we’ll look into it.”

A man and his girlfriend told police they were driving on South Union Street around 7:45 p.m. Wednesday when they saw a white Mazda swerving between lanes behind them and flashing its high beams, Lawrence Police Chief John J. Romero said.

The couple told police they slowed down and pulled over to the side of the road to allow the Mazda to pass before they continued on to Kent Street, he said.

When they attempted to turn left on Kent Street, the driver of the Mazda, later identified as Maloney, abruptly turned left in front of them and slammed on his brakes, Romero said.

The move forced the couple off the road, through a fence, and onto the porch of a South Union Street Home, just 10 feet away from where Robert Laskey was watching TV, Laskey said.

“I couldn’t get out my front door so I went out back,” he said. “I saw a car resting on the steps going up to my deck.”

Laskey said Maloney stepped out of the Mazda and asked if everyone was OK, but he refused to show his driver’s license or registration.

“He was unstable, belligerent, and his eyes were red,” he said.

The couple called police, who spoke with Maloney and administered a breathalyzer test, Romero said. When he failed the test, officers arrested him.

Maloney will return to court July 11 for a pretrial hearing, Kimball Monahan said.

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