BOSTON -- A man arrested twice in three months for drunken driving got away with only a slap on the wrist – part of a system that allows many repeat offenders to stay on the road, 25 Investigates uncovered.
The finding comes a day after Investigative Reporter Eric Rasmussen reviewed dozens of drunken driving cases from a two-week period in 2015 and found many beat their charges by challenging police reports, exploiting errors in court procedure and delaying their cases for months or even years.
Westborough Police arrested Dmitri Boundoukin, a 39-year-old ice skating coach, in December 2015 after they spotted him speeding on Route 9 – moments after a Shrewsbury hit-and-run.
Boundoukin was charged for driving under the influence.
Just three months later – in March 2016 – a police report shows Boundoukin was arrested for drunken driving again in Northborough. This time is he flipped his car and the officer at the scene noted he was going so fast when he crashed that the car “went airborne.”
But Boundoukin never went to trial on those charges.
Both cases were “continued without a finding” – a type of probation usually reserved only for first-time offenders.
Boundoukin did not immediately return calls for comment, but his lawyer told 25 Investigates it’s not uncommon for courts to treat two drunken driving arrests as first offenses when they happen so close together.
Ron Bersani, the grandfather behind Melanie’s Law, says Boundoukin’s case and the other drunken driving cases uncovered by 25 Investigates highlight the need for lawmakers to toughen drunken driving laws.
“In this state, for some reason, we seem to have a reluctance to do that – to be able to pass a law that will reverse this and make it possible to get a dangerous person, who’s been arrested twice in three months for drunken driving, to get that person off the road,” said Bersani.
After Bersani’s granddaughter, Melanie, was killed by a repeat drunken driver almost 15 years ago, Massachusetts legislators enacted tougher laws in her name.
Under Melanie’s law, repeat offenders face increasing fines and jail time for each additional drunken driving conviction.
The Worcester County District Attorney’s Office told us Boundoukin ended up spending a couple of weeks in jail. But that stint behind bars was in part for driving on a suspended license – not drunken driving, according to court records.
“Because he had no prior conviction at the time of his second arrest, this could not be charged as a second offense by the court,” said a Worcester DA spokesman.
The spokesman said Boundoukin’s driver’s license was suspended for about six months for failure to take a breathalyzer test during the 2015 arrest, but RMV records show he now has his license back.
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