WESTERLY — An Ashaway man is facing DUI charges after police said he struck four parked vehicles along Railroad Avenue on Saturday night.

The man, Peter C. Shorter, 36, was charged with driving under the influence with an unknown blood alcohol content and failure to submit to a chemical test. Shorter, of 76 Egypt St., was also cited with failure to obey a stop sign and laned roadway violations, Westerly police said.

Shorter, a doctor who specializes in nephrology, was arrested at about 8 p.m., after his 2013 Toyota Highlander came to rest blocking both lanes of traffic directly in front of the Knickerbocker Music Center, according to Westerly Police Chief Shawn Lacey.

"When the officers arrived, there was considerable amount of debris in the roadway and several heavily damaged vehicles," Lacey said, adding that Shorter "was the only one involved and he was standing in the road, but fortunately was not hurt."

The four vehicles were not occupied and no bystanders were injured.

According to police, Shorter was westbound on Railroad Avenue when witnesses said he swerved and hit a vehicle that was parked on the north side of the street. Shorter's ricocheted, striking additional vehicles and colliding head-first with the driver's side of a 2012 GMC Sierra.

Lacey said the crash caused significant damage to Shorter's vehicle and moderate to heavy damage to the Sierra, a 2012 Hyundai Sonata, 2016 Nissan Rogue, and 2017 Buick.

Shorter told officers that he had swerved to avoid an oncoming car in his lane, but witnesses reported that there was no such car.

A police report said officers could smell a slight odor of alcohol, and that Shorter also had heavily slurred speech and bloodshot eyes. He was given a field sobriety test and was then taken into custody.

At the station, Lacey said Westerly Ambulance personnel evaluated Shorter but there was no evidence to suggest that there was any type of medical emergency at the time of the crash, Lacey said, noting that Shorter is a diabetic.

Lacey said the crash caused detours in the downtown area while the road was being cleaned up.

Shorter is scheduled to appear before the Rhode Island Traffic Tribunal on June 25 to answer to the traffic citations and charge of failure to submit to a chemical test. Information on the DUI charge, which will be heard in Fourth Division District Court, was not available through the state's judicial website Wednesday. 

jvallee@thewesterlysun.com

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