Cheryl Senter for The Boston Globe
HAVERHILL -- Matthew J. Amorello, the former chairman of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, admitted today to drunken driving in an August crash and was ordered to give up his license for 45 days, attend alcohol awareness classes, and pay more than $500 in fines.
"Simply stated, I made a horrible mistake. Today I took responsibility for my actions," Amorello said after a Haverhill District Court hearing this morning.
Amorello, who had previously been tight-lipped about the charges against him, said, "I want to close this chapter of my life and start moving forward and will do that with the love and support of my family, my friends. It's been a difficult time and it's time to get up and dust myself off and get back to being Matt Amorello."
Judge Stephen Abany ordered cases of drunken driving and leaving the scene of an accident with property damage continued without a finding, setting another court date for March 1, 2011. A third charge against Amorello was dismissed.
The prosecution argued that Amorello's license should be suspended for a longer period, but Amorello's lawyer, William T. Hogan III, emphasized that his client had "no criminal record whatsoever and he's charged with two misdemeanors."
Amorello was arrested Aug. 8 after he allegedly crashed into two parked cars. He tried to continue to drive his sport utility vehicle, even though one wheel had fallen off, according to a Haverhill police report.
Amorello was so intoxicated he had to be helped into the back of a police cruiser after the incident, according to the report, which a prosecutor read out loud in court.
Amorello's license had already been suspended for 180 days, an automatic penalty because he refused to take a Breathalyzer test after his arrest. The 45-day suspension will begin after the first suspension ends.
Dressed in a gray suit, Amorello rode in a black SUV to the hearing this morning, entering the courtroom with his attorney and two other men.
After a late August court appearance, Amorello said he was dealing with "issues regarding my well-being."
Once married, with a $223,000 salary, Amorello is now divorced. He lost his house in Wenham to foreclosure and was unable to find work, the Globe reported in August. Friends said he was a broken man, both personally and professionally.
Amorello had become a lightning rod for critics of the Big Dig after part of the tunnel collapsed in 2006 and killed a Jamaica Plain woman.
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