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HOPKINTON — Two men were arrested on DUI charges after separate crashes this month, police said.

Police Capt. Mark Carrier said that Norman H. Wheeler, 46, of 10 Quiet Oaks Drive, Bradford, was charged Saturday with driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content greater than .15 and refusal to submit to a breathalyzer test at the scene. On March 1, David A. Blais, 70, of East Lyme, Conn., was charged with driving under the influence with a blood alcohol content of .10-.15.

Both were released on $1,000 personal recognizance, according to court records. Blais is scheduled to be arraigned March 19.  Wheeler's arraignment is set for March 26.

"Fortunately there were no injuries and in both cases, it was only the one car that was involved," Carrier said. "Drunken driving is a problem, and both are lucky, because their decision could have led to a lot worse than just an arrest."

In the Wheeler case, police and fire personnel were called to Alton Bradford Road around 2:50 p.m. Saturday for reports of a car that had gone off the road near Collins Road and appeared to be on fire.

Carrier said officers determined that Wheeler had crashed into the snow and had spun his tires rapidly, creating what appeared to be a plume of smoke. There was no fire.

The police said that Wheeler initially did not comply with officers who wanted him to take a breathalyzer test. He later agreed to do so while being booked at the Hopkinton Police Department, and the tests returned a blood alcohol content of .212 and .215 in separate phases.

Records show that Wheeler has had several dealings with the police. He was the victim of a domestic stabbing in December 2017, at the hands of his former wife, Dawn Wheeler, according to court documents. She pleaded no contest to an amended charge of simple assault or battery and was given one year of probation.

Wheeler himself was convicted of second-degree murder in 1992 after pleading no contest to a charge brought in connection with an incident that occurred on June 3, 1990. The Rhode Island State Police investigated, but the circumstances of that case were not available through the state's online records system.

Blais was charged after a crash at the offramp from Interstate 95 South near Exit 2. In that case, Carrier said, witnesses reported that Blais had struck a road sign and driven away.

The crash damaged Blais' car and caused a fluid spill. Carrier said an officer traced the spill to Blais' car, which had a flat tire and was parked at Spring Street in Hope Valley. Blais, who was in the car, was taken into custody and agreed to a breathalyzer test, which returned a blood alcohol reading of .112.

jvallee@thewesterlysun.com

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