Police in Salisbury, Massachusetts, say a New Hampshire man was overdosing behind the wheel when he caused a horrific crash.
An 82-year-old woman is in the hospital with serious injuries after the crash Tuesday afternoon. NBC10 Boston has learned that the driver from New Hampshire should not have been driving.
At the age of 30, Patrick MacLaughlin of Raymond has more than 50 criminal charges.
"It's certainly frustrating for law enforcement," said New Hampshire State Police Sgt. Keith Walker.
He was alarmed when NBC10 Boston brought MacLaughlin's criminal record to his attention.
"Forty-nine offenses is beyond excessive," Walker said.
MacLaughlin's rap sheet, which dates back to 2007, includes drug, theft and robbery charges, along with several driving infractions, like speeding, operating without a license and operating under the influence.
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His most recent offense was around 5 p.m. Tuesday on Route 1 in Salisbury.
Police say MacLaughlin was high on drugs and behind the wheel when he swerved and crashed head-on into a woman driving in the other direction.
"The screech and then the bang," recalled Georgina Mason, who lives nearby and heard the crash.
She ran out of her house, called 911 and watched as the Jaws of Life were used to get both MacLaughlin and the woman out of their vehicles.
"That poor old woman, he easily could've killed her," Mason said.
MacLaughlin's record shows he was on parole at the time for OUI back in 2017.
"It's not OK," Mason said.
Walker admits this is a case where the system failed.
"We need to do a better job, the system as a whole to fix that," Walker said. "We need to balance enforcement with treatment and figure out what we can do to keep individuals like this off the streets."
The woman suffered several broken bones and a head injury. She needed emergency surgery.
Police say they found a used needle and a baggy of heroin in MacLaughlin's car. Officers used Narcan to revive MacLaughlin on the scene.
MacLaughlin being held without bail pending a dangerousness hearing next week in Newburyport District Court.