BOSTON, May 1, 2013—An Easton man was sentenced to jail today after he was convicted of drunk driving for the fourth time, District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said.
A Suffolk Superior Court jury yesterday found STEVEN BUCHANAN (D.O.B. 12/12/60) guilty of operating under the influence of alcohol and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. Because it could have prejudiced the defendant, jurors were not told that Buchanan had previously been convicted of drunk driving on three prior occasions.
At a separate, jury-waived proceeding this morning, Buchanan admitted that he was the same defendant convicted of operating under the influence in 1984 in Boston, in 1988 in Dedham, and in 1990 in Wareham, and Judge Judith Fabricant found him guilty of operating under the influence as a fourth offense.
Fabricant sentenced Buchanan to 2½ years in a house of correction, with two years to serve and the balance suspended for two years, during which time he will be on probation. In addition, Fabricant ordered Buchanan to remain alcohol-free, take part in Alcoholics Anonymous or a similar program, submit to random screening, and not drive. If he violates those conditions, he could be ordered to serve out the remaining portion of his sentence. Buchanan is already subject to a lifetime suspension of his driver’s license
During the two-day trial, Assistant District Attorney Gregory Henning of the DA’s Major Felony Bureau presented testimony and evidence to prove that Buchanan was drunk behind the wheel of a Toyota Tundra shortly before 12:30 a.m. on Nov. 3, 2011.
Members of the MBTA Transit Police observed him driving erratically and failing to stay within marked lanes on I-93, the evidence showed. After they activated their lights and siren, Buchanan appeared to move items from the front of the truck into the rear seat as he continued to drive for roughly a half mile before pulling to the breakdown lane and stopping for police.
After failing a battery of sobriety tests, Buchanan was placed under arrest. Officers inventorying his vehicle found five open beer cans in the truck’s console and an additional 29 unopened beers in a cooler. He was transported to the Old Colony State Police Barracks, where he refused a breath alcohol test.
He was represented by attorney Jack Diamond.
All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.