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Former state chemist charged with drunken driving

A former state chemist was released on personal recognizance Friday, two days after she allegedly rear-ended and injured a pregnant woman in Revere while driving with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit, prosecutors said.

Hevis Lleshi, 31, of Quincy, was arraigned in Chelsea District Court Friday on charges of operating under the influence. She had a not-guilty plea entered on her behalf and was ordered to remain free of drugs and alcohol, not drive, and to submit to random testing.

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Lleshi is scheduled to return to court for a pretrial conference Oct. 31, the Suffolk district attorney’s office said.

At about 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Revere police responded to a crash at North Shore Road and Oak Island Street. Officers reported that Lleshi’s vehicle had allegedly struck the rear of a car being driven by a 37-year-old pregnant woman from Marblehead.

The woman was taken to Whidden Memorial Hospital with injuries not considered to be life-threatening. She was released, and her pregnancy will be monitored by specialists at Massachusetts General Hospital, prosecutors said.

Lleshi had worked as a chemist in the Department of Public Health’s Hinton Laboratory in Jamaica Plain, the statement said. The lab is also where Annie Dookhan, a former state chemist charged with mishandling evidence that could affect thousands of drug cases in Massachusetts, used to work.

Revere police who arrived at the accident scene reported finding Lleshi behind the wheel of her car. She allegedly had slurred speech and smelled of alcohol and told officers she did not know what happened but did admit to having three alcoholic beverages that day, said District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office.

Lleshi was administered sobriety tests at the scene. She allegedly could not walk in a straight line or follow the tip of a pen with her eyes, Conley’s office said.

She also told police that she knew the alphabet, citing her education at Boston University, but never recited it, prosecutors said.

Lleshi was placed under arrest and brought to the Revere police station, where she agreed to a breath-alcohol test, which registered at .24, the statement said. The legal limit in Massachusetts is 0.08.

Lleshi also told officers she had been at Suffolk Superior Court prior to having drinks at a bar. Officers could find no record of her being at the court, the statement said.

Melissa Hanson can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @Melissa_Hanson.
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