The Lawrence Eagle-Tribune reported today that Ron Bell, former Aide to Governor Patrick, and current Chief of Staff for embattled Lawrence Mayor Willie Lantigua admitted that there were sufficient facts to convict him of operating under the influence of liquor, as a result of his DUI arrest in Brookline last October. His case was heard in the Brookline District Court and later transferred to the Dedham District Court when Bell exercised his right to a jury trial.
After the Governor suspended Bell from his position at the Statehouse, Lawrence Mayor Lantigua hired him as his “chief of staff.” Of course, Bell’s license was suspended for 180 days for his refusing to submit to a chemical test. This suspension was followed by a 45 day loss of license, which was imposed pursuant to G.L. c. 90 § 24D. In accordance with the terms of his plea bargain, he has been placed on supervised probation for one year and assigned to take the 24D 16 week out-patient Alcohol Education Program. His license will also be suspended for accumulating surchargeable events if he fails to take the NSC Remedial Driving Class.
Bell claimed that gout and heart medication accounted for his failing field sobriety tests. He was transported to the hospital from the Brookline Police Department, when he complained that he was ill. At the hospital, he was offered a DUI blood test, which he refused. The blood test refusal triggered a 6 month license suspension. Thre article failied to identify Bell’s DUI Lawyer.
If he is arrested again for DUI, he will be charged as a second offender and required to use an ignition interlock device if he is convicted of DUI again.
Mayor Lantigua has been a controversial figure in Lawrence, where he has been accused of favoritism and corruption. He promoted his campaign manager, who is a police officer, from the rank of Sergeant to Deputy Chief, allowing the Sergeant to skip the ranks of lieutenant and captain.