Col. James M. Manni, superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police, has announced the arrest of a tractor-trailer truck driver on DUI charges on southbound Interstate 95 in West Greenwich.
The driver, Matthew W. Gallagher, 36, of Rehoboth, Mass., who worked for Gordon Food Service, was charged Thursday night with driving under the influence of intoxicating liquor or drugs, first offense, blood-alcohol content unknown, and refusing to submit to a chemical test. He was held overnight at the Hope Valley Barracks pending arraignment in Third Division District Court.
The police said that Gallagher was arrested at about 11:30 p.m. after troopers received numerous 911 calls reporting a truck being operated erratically. Troopers spotted the truck swerving across the travel and breakdown lanes, nearly hitting one vehicle on the road and another in the breakdown lane, the police said in a press release. Gallagher was stopped south of Weaver Hill Road and the truck was towed.
Gallagher also was issued citations for laned roadway violations and for not wearing a seat belt.
“Fortunately, most truck drivers operate in a responsible manner," Manni said. "However, we want to make it clear that we will not tolerate anyone operating any vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs — especially those operating commercial vehicles, which present a tremendous risk to other motorists given the size and weight of those vehicles.”
Manni noted that drivers of commercial vehicles are held to higher standards than other motorists, and that once they obtain a commercial driver’s license, they must abide by strict laws and regulations when operating any vehicle on public roads.
In Rhode Island, anyone with a commercial driver’s license found to be operating a commercial vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of .04 percent or greater is considered guilty of operating under the influence of alcohol or drugs (for other motorists, the threshhold is a BAC of .08). If convicted of refusing to take a chemical test, on a first offense a commercial driver is disqualified from operating a commercial vehicle forne year, the police said.