Ex-Pike Chief A No Show At Arraignment

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A judge on Monday issued an arrest warrant for the former chairman of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority after he failed to show up in court to face a drunken driving charge.

The court clerk told the judge that he received a phone call on behalf of Matthew Amorello to say he had been hospitalized at the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.

It was not immediately clear why the former Republican state senator was hospitalized, and a spokesman for the hospital said he had no record of a patient by that name.

The police report from Amorello's arrest in Haverhill at about 2 a.m. on Saturday said he suffered scrapes on his knees and a cut on his forehead after he allegedly struck two parked vehicles, but he refused treatment.

Amorello's lawyer, William Hogan III, did not immediately return a message left at his office.

Witnesses told police they saw an SUV strike and heavily damage two parked vehicles. The SUV was later found at an area car dealership with a wheel missing and Amorello alone inside. He was charged with operating under the influence and with two counts of leaving the scene of property damage.

A telephone number for the Wenham address Amorello gave as his home to police was disconnected.

Amorello's brother, Christopher, told The Boston Globe that while he could not defend his alleged actions, his brother is no longer a public figure and his arrest was not newsworthy. A message left at Christopher Amorello's number was not immediately returned.

Amorello in 2002 was appointed to lead the Turnpike Authority, which oversaw the $15 billion Big Dig highway project, then resigned under pressure from then-Gov. Mitt Romney in 2006 after a portion of tunnel ceiling fell on a car, killing a Boston woman.

Amorello, who earned $223,000, said many of the problems with the project predated his time as agency head.

Amorello was fined $2,000 in February 2009 for violating conflict of interest laws. The State Ethics Commission said Amorello approved a policy the day before he resigned that allowed nonunion employees to take 50 percent cash value of unused sick time when they retired, resigned or were fired.

Amorello could have received $75,000 for unused time, but he never accepted the money.

This program aired on August 9, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.