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Police say drunk driver hit guardrail, drove fiery car to gas station

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  October 10, 2012 10:24 AM

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Barbara Bearden BookingImage.jpg

A Weymouth woman was arrested in Hingham Sunday morning after she allegedly struck a guardrail and continued driving on the tire rims with her car on fire.

According to police, officers were dispatched to the Mobil gas station on Summer Street shortly after 10 a.m. Sunday for a report that a car was on fire and the driver was unsteady on her feed.

After being checked by paramedics, the driver spoke with officers. She told police she had struck a curb at the nearby Route 3A rotary. However, an investigation showed that she was driving her 2009 Pontiac G6 on Route 3A when she traveled off the road and struck a guard rail at least once.

The impact flattened both passenger-side tires, police said.

The vehicle then allegedly continued northbound on two flat tires, rolling on the rims and around the Route 3A rotary. Sparks from driving on the rims created flames under the vehicle, police said.

Debris from the vehicle was found in several areas along Route 3A. Police suspect she hit the guardrail half a mile before she finally stopped at the gas station.

Police said that the driver pulled into the gas station and stopped within 15 feet of the gas pumps that were in use.

A 45-year-old Hingham resident who was a customer pumping gas, and a gas station employee both used a fire extinguisher to help put the flames out. They also helped the driver out of and away from the vehicle.

The Hingham Fire Department soon arrived and also sprayed down the vehicle. There were no injuries.

Police said the driver appeared lethargic, had glassy and bloodshot eyes, and had a strong odor of alcohol on her breath. She admitted she had been drinking earlier, and was placed under arrest after several sobriety tests.

Barbara Ann Bearden, 49, from Weymouth was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol, operating to endanger, leaving the scene of an accident after causing property damage, and failure to stay within marked lanes.

She was released on personal recognizance during her arraignment on Tuesday.

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