ATTLEBORO - A sprint home over the state line worked out in Massachusetts for a man charged last November with drunken driving in Attleboro and Pawtucket.
However, the case against Michael D. Tierney, 49, of 925 Cottage St. in Pawtucket, was not dismissed over jurisdictional issues.
It was dismissed after his lawyer successfully argued that Tierney was not given his right under Massachusetts law to an independent chemical test after he was taken into custody by Pawtucket police.
Although Tierney escaped drunken driving prosecution in Massachusetts, he was also charged with drunken driving and related charges by Pawtucket police.
He has already pleaded no contest on the Rhode Island drunken driving charge and was fined and placed on probation for related charges.
In Massachusetts, Tierney still faces other charges in the incident, including driving to endanger, driving without a license and two other motor vehicle charges. He is due back in Attleboro District Court in September.
After hearing arguments from prosecutors and Tierney's lawyer, Gregory DiPaolo of Fall River, Attleboro District Court Judge Daniel O'Shea agreed to dismiss the drunken driving charge in Massachusetts, calling the case unique among the thousands of drunken driving cases he has heard.
Tierney was the driver of a 1999 BMW parked with smoke coming from the engine on the Newport Avenue bridge in South Attleboro, when he was spotted by another driver around 6 p.m. on Nov. 17, 2013, according to court records.
The witness told police he called 911 and started following Tierney's car after it went across the center line on the bridge and drive into Pawtucket, according to an Attleboro police report.
The car turned onto Cottage Street in Pawtucket, where it stopped and backed up into the witness' vehicle before continuing back into Attleboro on County Street. Neither the witness nor his passenger were injured, according to the police report.
The car stopped at the state line in the area of Pine Crest Motors at 2117 County St., where the witness told police Tierney got out of the car and ran across the street - and state line - to 925 Cottage St. in Pawtucket. Tierney was apprehended by police attempting to get inside the home, according to the police report.
Because Tierney was apprehended in Rhode Island, Pawtucket police took custody of him and charged him with multiple offenses, including drunken driving, driving with a suspended license, assault on police and resisting arrest, according to court records.
Attleboro police said Tierney exhibited signs of alcohol intoxication and later mailed him a citation charging him with drunken driving and related offenses. He was summonsed to Attleboro District Court, and pleaded innocent at his arraignment in May.
In his ruling, O'Shea said Attleboro police had probable cause to charge Tierney, but agreed with DiPaolo on the chemical test argument.
DiPaolo argued that since his client was taken by Pawtucket police, Attleboro police did not inform his client of his right to obtain an independent chemical test as required under Massachusetts law in drunken driving cases.
Attleboro police could have gone to the Pawtucket police station and informed his client of his right, but did not, DiPaolo argued.
Because he was not allowed to get a timely independent chemical test, Tierney was deprived of potential exculpatory evidence, DiPaolo said.
"It was a very unique situation where he was charged in two jurisdictions," DiPaolo said.