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North Andover attorney charged in hit-and-run crash

LAWRENCE — A North Andover attorney who denied he was driving his wife’s truck when it was in a serious hit and run accident, claimed he was having a “random hookup” with another woman at the time of the accident, police said.

Richard Heartquist, 42, who has a law office at 200 Sutton St., turned himself into police yesterday.

He was charged with obstruction of justice and leaving the scene of an accident which resulted in personal injury, police said. He was released on personal recognizance and is to be arraigned today.

Police said Heartquist was driving a white 2007 Chevrolet Avalanche when it struck a red 1985 Buick sedan at 354 Merrimack St. on Friday, Dec. 17. The Buick driver, Michael Baglieri, 35, of Methuen, suffered head and leg injuries in the 11:30 p.m. crash.

“Our investigation puts him behind the wheel,” Police Chief John Romero said yesterday, noting there were witnesses to the accident.

The Avalanche is registered to Heartquist’s wife, Allison Heartquist, Newburyport’s Ward 1 city councilor, who works full-time as executive assistant to Amesbury Mayor Thatcher Kezer. The couple lives at 22 Reservation Terrace on the Newburyport side of Plum Island.

Detectives yesterday sought an arrest warrant for Heartquist, who was convicted of drunken driving in Newburyport in 2005. His Massachusetts drivers’ license expired in July, according to police reports.

He turned himself in at the Lawrence police station at 3:30 p.m.

The truck was impounded after the accident, and a search warrant was executed last Monday. Romero said items were seized from it and detectives are waiting for results of forensic tests.

In an interview the day after the accident, Heartquist told detectives he was not driving the Avalanche when it crashed, but instead having an hour-long tryst with a woman he met at the bar in Salvatore’s restaurant at 354 Merrimack St.

Around 10 p.m. Friday, Heartquist left his Sutton Street office and went to Salvatore’s “where he had a couple of beers,” he told detectives Thomas Burke and William Colantuoni. While at the bar, Heartquist said he met a woman named “Kathy” and he “described the encounter as a random hookup.” Kathy was 5 feet, 5 inches tall “with brown hair, well endowed and a little heavy,” according to the detectives’ report.

Heartquist told police he and Kathy left the bar together. He left the Avalanche running with the keys in it and then went to Kathy’s vehicle, which he described as a small SUV similar to a Toyota Rav4. Kathy drove to the “other end of the parking lot where they spent about an hour together,” Heartquist told the detectives.

Then the two “ended up taking off (in her car) to go get something to eat,” Heartquist told police. But when they drove to his nearby law office, Heartquist “decided to break off the encounter with the girl and call his brother for a ride,” according to the police report.

Burke asked for Heartquist’s brother’s name and telephone number “so we could corroborate his story.” But “Heartquist stated that he didn’t want to get his brother involved and no longer wanted to speak with us,” according to the report.

Before detectives left his home, Heartquist also asked if he needed to report the Avalanche stolen “since the car was already recovered.”

Burke told Heartquist if his car “had in fact been stolen” he would have to file a stolen vehicle report.

To date, Heartquist has not filed such a report.

Detectives noted that Heartquest had a large bruise on his right hand and “abrasion above his left eye which was shaded by the visor of his baseball cap.” However, detectives were unable to question him about the injuries because he abruptly ended the interview, according to the report.

When called immediately after the crash, Allison Heartquist told police her husband took her truck to a Christmas party that night. She said her husband had called her earlier in the evening and said “he’d be getting a ride home,” according to a police report.

When a police officer told her the truck was involved in the accident and the driver fled, Allison said, “Oh, no,” according to police.

She could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Baglieri, the Buick driver, told police the Avalanche pulled out of the Riverwalk parking lot and crashed into him. The driver then fled toward the Merrimack River, prompting an intense but unsuccessful search of the area.

Baglieri said he blacked out upon impact. Police found him bleeding from his forehead and complaining of pain. A foreman for a tree service, Baglieri runs a bucket truck on a daily basis. The injuries he suffered in the accident put him out of work, however.

Source:  eagletribune.com