A quick-thinking snowplow driver out salting Interstate 93 South early Tuesday morning stopped an allegedly drunk driver who had already caused one accident and was careering the wrong way up the highway by planting his plow directly in the woman’s path, state officials said.
Brenda Jarillo, 33, of Rhode Island allegedly fled an accident in Quincy, which sent one person to the hospital, and nearly struck two responding troopers before she crashed into the state plow in Dorchester, officials said. She allegedly kicked the trooper who arrested her and laughed about her alleged crimes, prosecutors said.
“She could have killed three people that night, and then she hit a plow,” Assistant District Attorney Courtney Doherty said in Dorchester District Court Tuesday, where a plea of not guilty was entered on Jarillo’s behalf to a host of charges in the incident. “After all of this, she has such a cavalier attitude.”
Jarillo kept her head tipped down and covered by a hood during her arraignment, occasionally raising her cuffed hands to her mouth as the lawyers and judge talked. She was ordered held on $3,000 cash bail, which she posted.
Frank DePaola, administrator of the state Highway Division, said the plow driver who stopped Jarillo acted quickly to protect other drivers. “His first thought was, he didn’t want the person to get by him because he felt that someone behind him closer to Boston could get seriously injured,” DePaola said.
Jarillo’s attorney, Jack McGlone, said Jarillo is remorseful, has no criminal record, and was curled in the fetal position crying hysterically when he met her before her arraignment.
“I think there’s a lot more going on,” said McGlone. “You need to find out if there was alcohol or drugs involved. She doesn’t remember much. . . . She knows she was in an accident. That was as much as I got out of her.”
State Police spokesman David Procopio said that around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jarillo was involved in a crash with a Honda on I-93 South near Exit 8 in Quincy, which sent Francisco Lopez. 42, to Quincy Medical Center with injuries not believed to be life-threatening.
She allegedly fled the crash and headed the wrong way on the highway for more than 3 miles, nearly crashing into two approaching state troopers, both of whom, Doherty said, were flashing their lights and sirens but had to swerve to avoid being hit.
DePaola said the driver of the plow, who asked to remain anonymous, saw headlights coming toward him and turned on all his lights, sounded his horn, and drove his plow directly in front of the approaching car. He thought the driver would stop, DePaola said.
“I don’t think he was concerned about his personal safety,” said DePaola.
“He was more concerned about the safety of others, even the safety of the driver.”
When troopers caught up with Jarillo, Doherty said, her blue Mini Cooper was resting on the plow near Exit 12, and she was standing next to the plow driver. Neither was injured.
Jarillo denied traveling the wrong way, causing any accidents, or passing state troopers, Doherty said. Instead, she asked troopers for help getting home, Doherty said.
Jarillo allegedly admitted to having two or three drinks of whiskey, but said she had not eaten all day, the prosecutor said. She failed several field sobriety tests, according to the police report.
She fought a trooper’s attempt to handcuff her and repeatedly kicked him when he tried to put her in his cruiser, Doherty said.
During a phone call from jail, Doherty said, Jarillo was “carefree and laughing,” saying on the phone: “These things happen, I guess.”
Jarillo’s breathalyzer tests showed an alcohol level of more than .19 percent, according to a police report. She faces a variety of charges, including operating under the influence and assault with a dangerous weapon.