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Date: 10/26/2015 11:54 AM PDT

Designated driver charged with drug possession, driving without a license was being good Samaritan, defense lawyer says By Jack Flynn | jflynn@repub.com on October 22, 2014 at 7:00 AM, updated October 22, 2014 at 7:02 AM SPRINGFIELD - Maybe Amy B. Beltrandi was not the best choice for designated driver. Despite a revoked driver’s license and a recent warrant for her arrest, the 37-year old Springfield resident was piloting a red pickup truck along Carew Street Friday night with only one working headlight. After Springfield police pulled the vehicle over, they found crack cocaine in a cigarette pack next to Beltrandi’s seat, and more in her pocketbook, Springfield District Court records show. During Beltrandi's arraignment Monday on drug and motor vehicle charges, defense lawyer Randy Milou explained that his client was a victim of circumstance, pressed into driving the truck because its owner - who was sitting in the front passenger seat - was too drunk. “She was a being a good Samaritan,” said the lawyer, noting that the cigarette pack was wedged between the driver’s and passenger’s seat. “Those drugs were not her’s,” he added. After searching the vehicle, police allowed a passenger in the back seat with a valid license to drive it from the scene; Beltrandi, 37, of 77 Drexel St., was held over the weekend and pleaded not guilty Monday to possession of a Class B drug; operating with a revoked license and a lights violation. Beltrandi, who has also lived in Agawam and South Hadley, is facing drug possession, breaking and entering and larceny charges in Westfield District Court. When she failed to appear last month for a hearing, court officials issued a warrant for her arrest. She is also on probation in Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown for operating under the influence, and has a 2007 conviction for possession of a Class B drug, court records show. In Springfield District Court on Monday, her lawyer asked Judge William Boyle to release his client on personal recognizance. Any amount of bail would be a hardship, Milou argued, since his client has two children and no income. Given her outstanding warrant in Westfield District Court, Beltrandi would remain in custody anyhow while being transported to Westfield for a default hearing, the lawyer said. Boyle said he would consider the lawyer’s argument if Beltrandi took and passed a drug test - an offer she refused. He set bail at $500 cash and $5,000 surety, and scheduled a pre-trial hearing for Nov. 10. http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2014/10/designated_driver_cited_for_re.html

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