LYNN -- A Salem man will seek counseling to deal with the emotional pain caused by the death of his girlfriend, who was ejected from his SUV after he slammed into four vehicles while he was allegedly driving drunk in Lynn on Sunday, according to his attorney.
Christopher J. Maxson, 19, pleaded not guilty in Lynn District Court today to several charges, including operating under the influence and motor vehicle homicide. His girlfriend, 19-year-old Julia Gauthier, was pronounced dead at the scene of the 1 a.m. crash near the intersections of Eastern Avenue and Glenwood Street, officials said.
Christopher J. Maxson(Suzanne Kreiter/ Globe Staff)
"Obviously, he is very depressed,'' his attorney, John Andrews, said in court. "He is in a state of grieving.''
Bail for Maxson, who lives with his parents in Salem and currently works as a landscaper, was set at $12,500 cash by District Court Judge James Wexler. Maxson was also ordered to be tested for drug and alcohol use, wear a GPS monitoring device and will be permitted to leave home to visit a psychiatrist.
Andrews said Maxson will post bail sometime today.
Gauthier's mother, Marie, showed up at the courthouse today and met privately with Maxson's family. Marie Gauthier was not in court when a frail looking Maxson made his appearance.
"She was a wonderful girl,'' Marie Gauthier said, before declining further comment.
Gauthier was a 2009 graduate of Salem High School, played field hockey and lacrosse and graduated 10th in the class, according to Principal David Angeramo.
"There's certainly a lot of people who were close to her and are affected by this,'' he said in a telephone interview. "She was a good student and certainly a great athlete. It's been a difficult day at Salem High School, for students and for staff. Julie was widely known and will be greatly missed."
Gauthier was the granddaughter of Roland F. Gauthier Jr., a well-known North Shore car dealer and community activist in Salem, who died Feb. 13.
Also in court today was Maxson's father, Vincent, who spoke briefly with reporters.
"I am very sorry this tragedy had to happen,'' Vincent Maxson said."She was a wonderful, wonderful girl.''
According to a Lynn police report filed in court, Christopher Maxson admitted to have had one rum and cola, and at least two other drinks before the crash.
Maxson was ticketed for speeding in Brookline in 2008 and also had his driver's license suspended after he was charged with Lynn police with possession of marijuana, according to the Registry of Motor Vehicles and police.
At the time he was issued a speeding ticket, Maxson had a junior operating license. He was required to attend classes about road rage and the need for an attitude adjustment, said Essex Assistant District Attorney Dana Robinson.
"This defendant does have a history of reckless driving and was ordered by the Registry of Motor Vehicles to undergo corrective actions,'' Robinson said in court."And we are still in this position.''
Lynn police Lieutenant William Sharpe said in a telephone interview Maxson and Gauthier had attended a house party in Lynn prior to the 1 a.m. crash. He said two other passengers in the Toyota SUV sustained minor injuries and were treated and released from Salem Hospital. He declined to identify the passengers.
Sharpe said Maxson was driving on Glenwood Street and ran through two stop signs before turning onto Eastern Avenue, where he came into contact with a Honda Civic. The impact with the Civic sent the SUV slamming into two parked vehicles. When it hit a third parked car, the SUV rolled over and Gauthier was ejected out of the open sunroof.
Maxson suffered minor injuries He was charged with drunken driving based on observations Lynn police made of his behavior after the crash, Sharpe said.
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