Princeton Township Committeeman Lance Liverman is scheduled to appear in Hopewell Township Municipal Court on Sept. 11 for charges related to an Aug. 9 incident where he hit a parked tractor-trailer on the shoulder of Interstate 95 near Scotch Road.
Police charged Liverman with operating a motor vehicle under the influence, driving recklessly, making an unsafe lane change and refusing to take a breathalyzer test following the accident.
In a phone interview with Planet Princeton today, Liverman said he worked about 11 hours on Wednesday, Aug. 8 and was exhausted, but had promised to take friends out to dinner in Philadelphia. He drove home in the wee hours of the morning and veered into the tractor-trailer.
“I dozed off for a second or two,” Liverman said. “When I woke up, the side of my Honda pilot had broadsided a parked 18-wheeler. When the officers arrived, they asked me to do a breathalyzer. What I should have known, serving on all the boards I serve on, is that if you say no, you can get a ticket for saying no and then you get a DUI. I had no idea.”
Liverman, who serves on the Princeton Alcohol & Drug Alliance and the Corner House Board, said police read him a statement about the test and refusing it, but the consequences were not clear. “The consequences – losing a license and a $3,000 fine — were not mentioned. I thought maybe the consequence for refusing the test was a traffic ticket or such, I had no idea it would be like this.”
Asked why he refused the breathalyzer test, Liverman said he can’t fully explain it, but he probably should have asked the officers for it to be done at a hospital. “I don’t believe I was above the legal limit,” he said.
“I made a mistake and I apologize,” he said. “When I thought I was too tired, I should have pulled over.”
“After everything I went through, meeting various people, and reflecting, I probably shouldn’t been driving that tired at that time of night. If anyone is in that condition it is best not to drive,” he said. “So many people have called me since the incident to say the same thing happened to them, that it could be them.”
Liverman said he is grateful that no one was hurt and the only damage was to his vehicle.
“I just thank God that I’m walking and talking right now,” he said. “Whatever way people want to interpret things — whether they want to vote for me or don’t want to vote for me — there was no malice of intent. These were unique circumstances. I have a one of the cleanest driving records, nothing else for my entire 50 years.”