Police: Drunk driver was asleep — and armed — behind the wheel at Boston I-93 on-ramp

He allegedly caused a traffic back-up on the ramp.

Jim Davis/Globe Staff

A Cambridge man was found asleep at the wheel of a Lexus — causing a traffic back-up on the Sullivan Square on-ramp to I-93 north in Charlestown early Monday — while also intoxicated and armed with a loaded handgun, prosecutors allege.

James Charles Knight, 45, was ordered held in lieu of $10,000 bail in the Charlestown Division of Boston Municipal Court later Monday, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

He is charged with operating under the influence, illegal possession of a firearm, illegal possession of ammunition, and possession with intent to distribute a Class B substance, subsequent offense.

An MBTA Transit Police officer saw Knight’s blue Lexus around 4:15 a.m. with its headlights off at the I-93 north on-ramp, prosecutors said.


“Numerous cars were behind the Lexus, honking to get by,” the district attorney’s office said in a statement Tuesday. “The officer drove his cruiser next to the vehicle and noticed the driver, Knight, asleep with the car running.”

The officer used his horn and siren to try to wake Knight but was unsuccessful, prosecutors said.

“The officer then exited his cruiser and saw Knight’s vehicle, which was not in park, start to move forward with Knight still asleep,” officials said. “The officer awoke Knight by banging on the car’s hood.”

The officer conducted a field sobriety test on Knight after smelling alcohol, determined Knight was intoxicated, and arrested him, officials said.

During a search, the officer found $8,569 in cash on Knight and discovered a Polymer80 handgun loaded with eight rounds of ammunition and 33.7 grams of marijuana wrapped in individual bags in his vehicle, prosecutors allege.

“This motorist is very lucky that his condition didn’t result in him or someone else getting injured or worse,” District Attorney Kevin Hayden said. “It was fortunate that an officer happened upon this situation before it turned into something more tragic.”

Knight is due back in court on Jan. 17 for a pre-trial hearing.


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