Wednesday, March 05, 2014
NORTHAMPTON — A city man with a long history of substance abuse was sentenced Tuesday in Hampshire Superior Court to 2½ years in jail on drug and impaired-driving charges.
Judge Mary-Lou Rup sentenced Timothy Lipski, 27, of 3 Ferry Ave. to the Hampshire Jail and House of Correction instead of imposing the prosecutor’s recommendation of a state prison term.
Lipski pleaded guilty to possession of heroin with intent to distribute, possession of heroin (subsequent offense), possession of cocaine, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs (subsequent offense) and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.
Lipski was previously convicted of operating under the influence in 2008 and convicted of heroin possession in 2010, according to prosecutor Steven Gagne.
Rup said she chose the county jail sentence in an effort to provide Lipski better access to rehabilitation and treatment programs that are less likely to be available in prison.
She pointed out to Lipski that, according to his record, he had been dealing with issues of substance abuse since he was a juvenile and told him, “There’s only one person that can resolve this situation and that’s you.”
Lipski admitted that on June 17, 2013 he was driving from Holyoke to Northampton after having purchased about 30 bags of heroin for resale.
Lipski was pulled over by Northampton Police after another driver saw Lipski’s car swerving over the center line of Route 5 and called 911 with a description of his vehicle.
Lipski told police he regularly purchased drugs in Holyoke to resell them in the area and he had taken some of the heroin before getting behind the wheel.
Police found the drugs and drug paraphernalia in the car during a search, according to Gagne.
Considering the frequency of his trips and admission to using drugs before driving, Gagne said it’s a “miracle” Lipski hadn’t killed himself or someone else while driving under the influence.
“Mr. Lipski is fortunate to still be here, to still be alive,” Gagne said, adding his recommendation for incarceration was an attempt to save Lipski’s life.
Lipski’s attorney, Alan Rubin of the Committee for Public Counsel Services, argued against state prison for his client, saying he would have no problem with that sentence if there were “a shred of evidence people sent to state prison were receiving meaningful and valuable drug treatment.” But, Rubin said, that is not the case.
Following Lipski’s jail sentence, he will be on probation for five years during which time he must avoid drugs and alcohol and submit to random screenings, attend substance abuse counseling and submit to GPS monitoring for the first six months.
Bob Dunn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.