DRACUT — Dracut Police Chief Peter Bartlett and Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan have confirmed that JULIE VITALE, 39, OF DRACUT was arraigned Friday in Lowell District Court on charges of child endangerment while operating under the influence of alcohol, operating under the influence of alcohol, leaving the scene of property damage, a marked lanes violation, and failure to stop for police in connection with allegedly striking a motor vehicle and then fleeing the scene and driving with her child in the car while under the influence of alcohol.
VITALE was released on personal recognizance and ordered not to consume alcohol, her next court date is Jan. 28, 2020.
At approximately 1:48 p.m. on Thursday, December 12, 2019, Dracut Police Officers Robert Ludwig and Gaetano, responded to the intersection of Hove Street and Pleasant Street for a hit and run motor vehicle collision. The driver of the vehicle that was hit stated that a Toyota RAV4 with Massachusetts plates, the driver of which was later identified as being VITALE had allegedly struck the rear panel of the driver’s side of her vehicle. Following the crash VITALE had exited her vehicle and discouraged the victim from taking down her vehicle information and calling police. VITALE then left the scene.
As the officers finished taking the statement of the victim, dispatch advised that a Toyota RAV4 matching the description of the vehicle involved in the hit and run collision had been reported to 911 as driving erratically on Lakeview Avenue. Both Officer Ludwig and Gaetano left the scene to respond.
Once in the area of Lakeview Avenue Officer Ludwig was able to to get behind the Toyota RAV4, which continued to move forward at a slow speed. Officer Ludwig then put on his sirens and after several attempts where the vehicle pulled over but then drove off slowly again, the Toyota RAV4 finally came to a stop in the area of 238 Pleasant Street. Officer Ludwig was then able to get out of his cruiser and approach the driver’s side of the vehicle where he saw that there was a minor in the vehicle who was later identified as VITALE’S 12-year-old son.
After several attempts to administer a field sobriety test were interrupted by VITALE, Officer Ludwig informed her she was under arrest and with the assistance of a recently arrived officer, Officer Donahue, put her in handcuffs and placed her in the rear of the police cruiser.
Officer Donahue transported VITALE to the Dracut Police Department where she was booked. The woman’s child was transported to Dracut Police Department with Officer Ludwig and his father was called. Officer Gaetano conducted a search of the Toyota RAV4 and allegedly located four empty “nip” bottles.
These charges are allegations and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. The prosecutor assigned to the arraignment was Tim Federico.