By Lisa Redmond
AYER — When Pepperell police stopped John C. Cheely and asked if he’d been drinking, he didn’t try to hide the truth.
“Yep, I had a lot to drink,” Cheely allegedly told the officer. “Well, I guess you’re gonna take me to the joint.”
They did, and that’s where he remains.
After his arrest on Oct. 26 on his fifth drunken-driving charge, Ayer District Court Judge Peter Kilmartin on Nov. 1 ruled the 45-year-old Pepperell man a danger to society and ordered him held without bail.
Cheely has a five-page record, with drunken-driving convictions in 1987, 1992, 2001 and 2004.
According to documents in Ayer District Court, it was Cheely’s family who called police to report that he had been drinking heavily when he switched license plates from one car and put them on his Chevrolet Cavalier and drove off.
An officer spotted Cheely behind the wheel waiting to get gas at a local gas station, so the officer ran the license plate and found it didn’t match Cheely’s car.
When the officer approached Cheely, his eyes were allegedly glassy, his speech was slurred and there was an odor of alcohol, according to court documents. Cheely admitted he had been drinking, but said he drove the car so he could fill up the gas tank for his son.
Before getting out of the car, Cheely took tobacco and two Seagrams nip bottles from his coat pocket and put it on the passenger seat.
Asked if he would perform some field-sobriety tests, Cheely allegedly refused and told the officer, “Slap the cuffs on.” He later refused to take a Breathalyzer test.
During a search of the car, police found a half-full can of cold beer in the console.
Cheely’s next court date is Dec. 1 for a pretrial conference.