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Drunk boater back in jail

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A Salem resident has returned to jail for another in a string of alcohol related offenses that have endangered the public. Two summers ago, Bradford Billings Smith ran his powerboat up on the rocks in Salem Harbor while drunk. This was not the first time he had driven a boat or car under the influence so he was sentenced to some jail time. Smith was convicted of boating while under the influence in May 2013 as a result of the July 2012 boat crash on Lobster Rock. This was Mr. Smith’s third-offense on the record for operating under the influence and he was also charged with leaving the scene of a property-damage accident as he had hit some other boats before running up on the rocks.

After the July 2012 arrest, Smith spent six months in a treatment program but tested positive for alcohol shortly after his release and was jailed for about three months. He then spent another three months in custody after a previous probation violation. This week, just in time for the New Year, Smith was return to jail as he tested positive for alcohol for a fourth time while on probation and his bail was revoked.

Mr. Smith and his attorney continuously question the Sobrietor, the device utilized to test for alcohol content in a person. Mr. Smith’s scores ranging from 039 to .043 are way too high to be a mistake. A 180 lb man would need to consume somewhere in the vicinity of 22 beers in around 4 hours to achieve those numbers. Smith’s record includes a charge of drunken driving in Gloucester in 2004, which was continued without a finding, and one in 2007 in Orange District Court, for which he was found guilty. Prosecutor Patrick Collins said Smith had just had his license to drive a car reinstated by the Registry of Motor Vehicles in June, after originally receiving a 10-year license revocation in 2004. Collins said it appears he lost his license for 10 years because he also had two alcohol-related violations on his driving record in New Hampshire, where he attended college.

Mr. Smith’s pattern of dangerous alcohol related behavior, continuous questioning of the results of the blood alcohol tests and his refusal to admit that he has been drinking indicate a very serious problem that needs more treatment. Alcoholism is a life-long disease that requires continuous effort in order to obtain and maintain sobriety. AA alone is usually insufficient to address a problem of this depth. Let's hope this current incarceration may provide Mr. Smith with the time he needs to really engage with sobriety.

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