LAWRENCE — A judge sentenced Ray Bourque to one year of probation and suspended his license for 45 days after the Bruins legend acknowledged in court Wednesday that he was operating under the influence of alcohol when he rear-ended another vehicle last month.
Bourque admitted prosecutors had sufficient evidence for a conviction, which will resolve the case without a conviction if he completes probation.
After the hearing in Lawrence District Court, the Hall of Famer apologized for the June 24 collision, when his blood-alcohol level was three times the legal limit.
“I have always strived for perfection but as we all know, my actions a few weeks ago were far from perfect,” Bourque said in a statement. “I know that I have let my family, friends, fans, the community and myself down. I apologize to all of you. I am sorry.
“I have begun to take the steps necessary to live my life in a better way,’’ added Bourque, 55. “As always, I will learn from my mistakes and I will continue to focus on the positive impact I can have in the community and for those around me.”
Judge Holly Broadbent also ordered Bourque to take a driver alcohol education program and a “Brains at Risk” course. According to Bourque’s attorney, Gerard R. LaFlamme Jr., the 45-day suspension is consecutive with a 180-day suspension for refusing a chemical test at the police station, a total of 225 days without a license.
Prosecutor Lindsay Nasson said Bourque’s driving record, which showed three other car accidents since 1991, should have warranted a 90-day license suspension.
LaFlamme said Bourque told him “I made a mistake. I had a lapse in judgment. I want to make sure that I am accountable for my actions, and I want to do this as quickly as possible.” LaFlamme repeatedly mentioned during the hearing that Bourque was stressed by the news media scrutiny surrounding his arrest.
Bourque initially pleaded not guilty in a surprise arraignment last week the day before his scheduled court date. Like that arraignment, the change-of-plea hearing was also on short notice, announced by the Essex County district attorney’s office Tuesday.
On June 24 at about 11:25 p.m., Bourque’s Mercedes-Benz SUV rear-ended a minivan carrying a group of teenagers while entering a construction zone in Andover, a police report said. No one was injured, but the van, driven by an 18-year-old woman, had heavy damage, according to the report.
Breathalyzer tests at the scene showed Bourque’s blood-alcohol level at .249, according to the report. Bourque slurred his speech and performed poorly in field sobriety tests.
LaFlamme said in court Wednesday that Bourque had his most recent drink before the crash at a private residence. Police had previously said in their report that Bourque told them he “had a few drinks at the Andover Country Club.”
Andover Lieutenant John Pathiakis wrote in his report that Bourque was “cooperative and polite” during his booking, but smelled strongly of liquor.
In Wednesday’s statement, Bourque apologized to the teenagers in the other vehicle and said he was “thankful that no one was hurt.” The family of the driver of the minivan could not be reached for comment.
Bourque played 21 seasons with the Bruins in the 1980s and ’90s and is the team’s longest-serving captain. He holds several National Hockey League records, including most goals, assists, and points by a defenseman.
A woman asked Bourque for an autograph Wednesday, but he declined.