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Addiction in Franklin County

Greenfield man facing OUI charges for drugs, alcohol

Driver couldn’t explain 50 missing pain pills

GREENFIELD — A local man faces drugged and drunken driving charges after allegedly plowing a jeep 30 feet through a three-foot snowbank in Turners Falls while intoxicated.

Cleveland Fuller, 58, of 8A Bradford Drive, pleaded innocent to charges of operating under the influence of drugs, operating under the influence of alcohol, having an open container of alcohol in a moving vehicle, speeding, operating to endanger, and a marked lanes violation, in Greenfield District Court Thursday.

Fuller was arrested at about 4 p.m. Feb. 14, after police responded to a single-car accident on Unity Street.

They found a Jeep Cherokee stuck fast in a snowbank, with tire tracks going 30 feet through the three-foot-high snowbank, according to a report by Patrolman James Deery.

Fuller told Deery that he did not crash into the snowbank, but pulled over to avoid an oncoming car. Deery noted that the vehicle was facing south on the northbound shoulder.

The passenger told Deery that Fuller had swerved to avoid an oncoming car before crashing into the snowbank.

Fuller initially denied drinking, then told Deery that he had a beer at home when he woke up at 6 a.m. that day, Deery wrote.

An open, nearly empty 200 ml. bottle of Black Velvet whiskey, and an open 12 oz. can of Natural Ice beer were found in the vehicle, Deery wrote.

Deery said Fuller refused a breath alcohol test on the scene, and was not given a field sobriety test because he has a disability that inhibits his movement.

The patrolman wrote that he and another officer had to physically support Fuller, who could not stand on his own after exiting the vehicle.

Fuller told officers he takes several prescriptions, and a bottle of prescription opiate painkiller oxycodone was found on his person during a pat frisk, Deery wrote.

The bottle’s label said the 56-pill prescription was filled that day, and indicated a two-pill daily usage, but police found only five pills in the bottle, Deery wrote.

Fuller said he took one pain pill at about 12:30 p.m. that day, about 30 minutes after taking his ropinerole, but could not provide an explanation for the 50 missing pain pills, according to the report.

Deery noted that both medications warn takers to take caution operating machinery, and that alcohol increases the risk of drowsiness already inherent in the drugs.

No drug charges were filed against Fuller, though sources for previous stories on the area’s opiate epidemic have said that some illicit users of the drugs buy them from prescription holders. Dr. Ruth Potee has said that it is common practice with long-term prescriptions for opiate painkillers be required to periodically bring their pill bottles in so doctors can count the pills and make sure they’re being taken as prescribed.

Fuller is set to return to court for a pretrial conference April 1.

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