DANVERS, Mass. — A Maine woman seen by an off-duty police officer driving erratically along Route 1 and Interstate 95 on Monday is facing charges that include endangering two young children while driving under the influence of drugs.
Elizabeth Douglass, 48, of Kittery was arrested by state police just before 7 p.m. near the exit from I-95 north to Route 62 in Danvers, Mass..
Police at the Danvers state police barracks had gotten a call from an off-duty Everett police officer who had been driving behind the woman on Route 1 north in Peabody, where, the officer told troopers, he saw her Dodge Durango nearly hit a concrete barrier along the side of the roadway near the jughandle several times.
The officer followed as the woman headed onto Interstate 95.
When Trooper Scott Quigley saw her vehicle, it was swerving back and forth between lanes, he wrote in his report.
He immediately signaled the driver to stop. The driver, later identified as Douglass, made a sudden jerking motion toward the side of the road, nearly hitting the curbing near the exit, then screeched to a stop.
The trooper said in his report that Douglass appeared to be under the influence of something and had constricted pupils and a “distant” look in her eyes.
There were three other adults and two children, both under the age of 2, inside the Durango, the trooper noted.
A report of suspected abuse or neglect was filed with the Department of Children and Families. The relationship of Douglass to the children was not clear from the police report.
Douglass, when asked, told the trooper she was taking medications for depression, anxiety and a thyroid condition. She subsequently admitted that she had also taken a Percocet, given to her, she said, by her boyfriend.
The trooper also discovered that Douglass’ license has been suspended because of three other moving violations or at-fault accidents.
After an “unsteady” Douglass failed three field sobriety tests, she was arrested on charges that include driving while under the influence of drugs, driving to endanger, child endangerment while driving under the influence, driving after license suspension and failing to stay within marked lanes.
Douglass, who was released on bail following her arrest, appeared yesterday in Salem District Court for arraignment.
She pleaded not guilty to the charges. At the request of prosecutors, Judge Michael Lauranzano issued an order that Douglass not drive while the case is pending.
A status hearing is scheduled for Sept. 6.
© 2012 The Salem News
Distributed by MCT Information Services