Springfield man denies fifth DUI charge
By ERIC FRANCIS
CORRESPONDENT | November 26,2013
WHITE RIVER JUNCTION — An alleged drunk driver who led a Springfield police officer on a three-minute pursuit from Springfield into Chester early Saturday morning later claimed not to have seen the blue lights or heard the siren, saying that he just “thought it was someone being a jerk” behind him.
Harold Buker, 47, pleaded innocent Monday to a felony count of drunk driving, fifth offense, and to accompanying misdemeanor counts of attempting to elude police and driving despite having a license that was suspended due to a prior DUI conviction. Buker was ordered by the court not to drive at all while his case is pending and to only leave his house to go to work and attend legal and medical appointments.
Springfield Officer Timothy McNamara said he was running his radar from a pull-off beside Route 106 just after midnight when Buker sped past him in a Chevy Tracker at 20 miles over the speed limit.
McNamara wrote in his report that as he pulled out and turned on his blue take-down lights Buker slowed and rode along the shoulder for a bit before continuing on down the road with the cruiser sounding its siren as close as 40 feet behind him at times. During the brief pursuit, which continued onto Route 10 in Chester, McNamara said Buker wove across the lane and touched the yellow center line a half-dozen times before McNamara got on his loud speaker and told Buker to pull over and stop, which he finally did.
McNamara wrote that Buker’s eyes were watery and bloodshot as he handed him a non-driver ID and claimed he hadn’t made the connection that the vehicle following him was a police car. Buker’s driving history showed that he was “suspended for life,” and he was arrested after he did poorly on field sobriety exercises and then blew a 0.136 percent blood alcohol level on a roadside breath test, McNamara wrote.
Through his public defender, attorney Mike Shane, Buker asked a judge Monday if, in addition to going to his full-time job at night, he could have permission to continue his part-time scrap metal hunting business and to work on a project for a dying friend, provided he wasn’t the person who was driving on those expeditions, but those requests were denied.
“Given his history of driving while intoxicated, the state feels it needs to protect the public by subjecting him to a 24-hour curfew (at his residence) except for those few verifiable purposes,” Windsor County Deputy State’s Attorney Glenn Barnes successfully argued before the court.