Richard P. Jeanetti, the Boston police officer accused of crashing into another motorist after speeding through a stop sign while off duty on May 24, had a blood-alcohol level that was more than three times the legal limit, according to court records released Friday after his arraignment.
“It was learned from Mr. Jeanetti’s truck that for 6 seconds prior to the accident he accelerated to approximately 68 [miles per hour] and did not apply the brakes prior to the collision, and he failed to stop for the clearly posted stop sign at the intersection of Austin Street and West Street,’’ Sergeant Detective John R. Kelly wrote in his report.
Brianna O’Neill, the 22-year-old Hyde Park waitress who suffered a fractured vertebra in her neck, as well as fractures to her leg and ankle, attended the arraignment wearing a neck brace and a walking cast on her right ankle. She used a single crutch to walk.
O’Neill looked briefly at Jeanetti, wearing a dark blue suit, as he stood before West Roxbury District Court Judge Franco J. Gobourne.
Jeanetti, 35, was charged with operating under the influence causing serious injury, reckless operation of a motor vehicle, and civil infractions including failure to stop and speeding.
Authorities say O’Neill was traveling on Austin Street in Hyde Park and entering the West Street intersection at about 11:50 p.m. on May 24 when Jeanetti’s 2007 Toyota Tundra hit her Honda Accord, according to prosecutors. The Tundra struck a second car, but the driver and occupant in that vehicle were uninjured.
O’Neill told reporters Friday that she blacked out momentarily. “Then I was confused as to why I wasn’t being helped,” she said. “I sat there for quite a few minutes before any help arrived, while the officer, he was surrounded by people, other police officers.”
She said she has been unable to work and fears she will need surgery on her neck.
Jeanetti strode out of the courthouse without commenting. His medical records from Boston Medical Center show that his blood-alcohol level at the time he was admitted to the hospital was 0.27, according to Kelly’s report. The legal limit in Massachusetts is 0.08.
Prosecutors have subpoenaed Jeanetti’s medical records as part of an ongoing Suffolk grand jury investigation of the collision, authorities said.
Police immediately requested that Jeanetti’s driver’s license be revoked and placed him on administrative duty, forbidden from carrying a firearm and from driving a department vehicle. Police said they did not conduct a breath test on Jeanetti at the scene because he needed medical help, and blood tests at the hospital would be able to detect alcohol.
If convicted, Jeanetti faces a maximum 4½-year sentence. Gobourne did not impose bail. Jeanetti is scheduled to return to court Sept. 11 for a preliminary hearing.
Thomas Drechsler, Jeanetti’s attorney, said he will be able to refute “the alleged scientific evidence.”
“In the meantime,” he said, “I’d like to ask everybody to keep in mind that he’s presumed innocent until he’s had his day in court.”
Drechsler said he would dispute some witness accounts that Jeanetti was speeding and appeared drunk at the scene, saying he would have other witnesses who will offer a different version of what happened. He also said the hospital’s procedure for determining blood-
alcohol level differs from the Department of Public Safety’s procedure taken at the scene of an incident, and is therefore not “forensically valid.”
After learning of Drechsler’s comments disputing the evidence, O’Neill said the case is strong against Jeanetti.
“He can dispute it all he wants; the facts of the evidence are there, and it is what it is,’’ she said. “It’s a pretty clean-cut case, if you ask me. I just want him to be treated the way any other normal civilian would be treated.”
Brian Ballou can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.