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Chicopee Man Pleads Guilty to 2013 Drunk Driving Crash


CHICOPEE, Mass. (WGGB) – A Chicopee man has pleaded guilty to drunk driving charges related to a 2013 crash in Belchertown.

Mary Carey, spokesperson for the Northwestern District Attorney’s office, say that 41-year-old Paul Genest of Chicopee pleaded guilty in Hampshire Superior Court Tuesday to charges of operating under the influence of liquor and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

Investigators say that Genest was driving his Jeep Cherokee southbound on Route 21 in Belchertown in July 2013 when he crossed over the center line and crashed into a Honda Pilot nearly head-on that was traveling northbound.

That other vehicle was being driven by 19-year-old Emma Norden of Belchertown. She had to be extricated from the vehicle using the Jaws of Life and received a broken foot and multiple lacerations.

Genest was transported to Baystate Medical Center for treatment, where blood samples were collected. Carey explains that State Police investigators later determined that he had a blood-alcohol concentration of nearly three times the legal limit.

Genest was sentenced to two and a half years in the House of Correction, with 30 days to serve. The balance of his sentence was suspended during a five-year probationary period.

Judge Bertha Josephson allowed Genest’s request for a stay of the sentence until July 1. At that time, he is to report to the Hampshire Superior Court to be taken into custody to begin serving his 30-day sentence.

After his release, Genest will have to abide by special conditions of his five-year probation, including abstaining from alcohol, attending AA meetings, consenting to the installation of an in-house Brethalyzer on a phone line in his home, and the loss of his license for one year, among other conditions.

During the time of the crash, Genest was employed as a patrol officer with the Chicopee Police Department. He had worked there for 15 years and was put on administrative leave following the accident.

Carey notes that Genest’s attorney indicates that Genest hope to rejoin the police department once his legal matters are resolved.

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