BENNINGTON -- An Abbott Street man is facing his third charge of drunk driving after he led police on a short chase through the north end of town, swerving as he went and forcing another driver off the road.

Francis A. Adams, 50, pleaded not guilty Monday in Vermont Superior Court to a third offense of driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI), felony counts of gross negligent vehicle operation, and gross negligent vehicle operation while eluding police, and a misdemeanor count of excessive speed.

He was held for lack of $2,500 bail. Should he be released while the case is pending, he will not be allowed to drive or consume alcohol and must report twice a day to the Bennington Police Department.

According to an affidavit by Bennington Police Officer Roscoe Harrington, on Monday at 3:43 a.m. he was parked off Route 7 when he saw a vehicle that appeared to be going faster than the 55 mph speed limit. His radar detected it going 86 mph so he followed it, activating his blue lights when it turned left onto Kocher Drive without signaling. The vehicle failed to stop as it led Harrington to North Branch Street, near the "Brooklyn Bridge."

The vehicle crossed the center line numerous times, and at one point swerved into the other lane far enough to force an oncoming car off the road.

Police were about to use a spike strip to deflate the vehicle's tires, but the driver stopped before that could happen.


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The driver, Adams, was taken into custody. He said he had "a few beers," and appeared heavily intoxicated to police.

Court records show Adams was convicted of DUI on May 9, 2009, and Aug. 19, 2009.

Contact Keith Whitcomb Jr. at kwhitcomb@benningtonbanner.com or follow him on Twitter @KWhitcombjr.