Boxford city manager charged with drink-driving after accident

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September 23—IPSWICH — The Boxford city warden, formerly a planner in Gloucester and Essex, is due to appear in court early next month on drink-driving and other charges following a September 2 accident in Ipswich.

Matthew Coogan, 39, of Ipswich, was charged in a complaint on Wednesday with drink-driving, negligent driving and driving with an expired licence. He was subpoenaed to appear in court.

He will be arraigned on October 7 at the Ipswich District Court in Newburyport, where he served as chief of staff to then-Mayor Donna Holaday until last year.

According to an Ipswich police report accompanying the complaint, Coogan was driving home at 12 Nabbys Point Road around 1:44 a.m. when he crashed into a utility pole near the intersection of Manning and Warren streets.

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The impact of the crash broke the pole, causing extensive damage to Coogan’s 2019 Volkswagen Golf, including slipping a tire and strut, shattering the windshield and deploying both airbags, police said in their report.

A barefoot Coogan “appeared to be in shock,” police wrote. They described that he smelled of alcohol and was unsteady on his feet and at one point struggled to put on his slippers.

He told officers he had been to a youth football event at the Ipswich Brewery. He is said to have admitted to having had ‘a few beers’.

Coogan mentioned his position as Boxford’s city manager twice while interacting with the officer who wrote the report, telling officers he was “just trying to get home.”

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Both paramedics and police expressed concern that Coogan may have suffered a concussion in the crash and repeatedly suggested that he be taken in an ambulance to be examined at Beverly Hospital.

Coogan, who told officers he had no recollection of the crash, hesitated several times about the decision, saying at one point, “I could use some help here.” In the end, he agreed to go to the hospital.

Because of his condition, police have not conducted sobriety tests in the field, they wrote in the report. Because he was not arrested, he did not take a breath test for alcohol.

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The Salem News made efforts to confirm and obtain information about the crash and possible charges earlier this month, and filed a public record request with police on Sept. 12.

The department sent a response Wednesday denying the request, naming what it believes is an exception under the state’s Criminal Offender Record Information or “CORI” law.

The police report and complaint were obtained through the Ipswich District Court on Thursday after the criminal complaint was issued.

Before working in Newburyport, Coogan held positions in the planning departments of Salem, Gloucester and Essex.

Staff Writer Dave Rogers contributed to this report.

Court reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, [email protected] or on Twitter at @SNJulieManganis

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