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Karen Bouquillon, solid waste manager for Northampton, charged with illegal drug possession, drunken driving

NORTHAMPTON — The city’s solid waste management director, tasked with destroying hazardous materials, denied weapon, drug and drunken driving charges in Northampton District Court on Monday.

Karen A. Bouquillon, 56, of Montgomery, pleaded not guilty to operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, possession of an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, possession of a firearm or ammunition without a permit, and six counts of possessing a class E drug.

Bouquillon worked at the city’s Drug Take-Back day Saturday, but denied to police after her arrest Sunday that she kept medications collected at the event rather than destroying them.

She was released on her own recognizance by Judge W. Michael Goggins and is due back in court June 7 for a pre-trial hearing.

According to police and court documents, officers were dispatched to Hatfield Street about 7:17 p.m. Sunday for a report of a car striking a tree. The dispatcher told officers the car had a flat tire, and that a caller believed the driver of the car was intoxicated.

Officers found Bouquillon, who they said smelled strongly of alcohol and had slurred speech, outside a Subaru Forester with heavy front-end damage and damage to a trailer attached to the vehicle. Both the car and the trailer belonged to her, police said.

Bouquillon failed a series of field sobriety tests and had a blood alcohol concentration of 0.19 percent, according to police, which is about 2½ times the legal limit to drive in Massachusetts, .08 percent.

During an inventory of the car, police seized medications including lorazepam, an anti-anxiety and anti-seizure drug; bupropion, an antidepressant; and levothyroxine, normally used to treat thyroid conditions, all of which were in a weekly pill organizer. She had no prescriptions for them, according to court records.

Police also found a partially used can of pepper spray, for which Bouquillon allegedly did not have a required firearms identification card, and a prescription pill container labeled as 500-mg doses of the painkiller acetaminophen with hydrocodone with 14 pills inside and the name of a Florence woman on the label.

According to police, Bouquillon said the pepper spray had been among a batch turned in to her department for destruction by the city police department “a few years ago” and she kept one of the canisters for herself.

Bouquillon said she accepted a bag of unwanted medications from a man before the Drug Take-Back Day at Smith Vocational and Agricultural High School started, and also told police that she turned it in to officers later in the day.

Bouquillon, who was at work in her office at the Department of Public Works for part of Monday, did not return a message left on her voicemail.

DPW Director Edward “Ned” Huntley declined comment and referred questions to the city’s human resources department.

Glenda Stoddard, Northampton’s human resources director, said Monday afternoon there had been no change in Bouquillon’s employment status.

Via email, the Northwestern district attorney’s office said it had no comment. A message left with Northampton Mayor David Narkewicz was not immediately returned.

Bob Dunn can be reached at bdunn@gazettenet.com.

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