A former Lowell police officer was sentenced to state prison Tuesday after pleading guilty to killing a man while driving drunk in 2014.
Eric Wayne, 43, was sentenced to four years in state prison followed by three years probation during which he must remain drug and alcohol free, according to the Essex District Attorney's office. Wayne will also lose his license for 15 years.
Early on the morning of Aug. 23, 2014, Wayne killed a 26-year-old man and injured the man's sister while driving drunk on Riverside Drive in Methuen, officials said.
Wayne pleaded guilty to motor vehicle homicide while operating under the influence, manslaughter and assault and batter with a dangerous weapon on Tuesday in Salem Superior Court.
According to Essex Assistant District Attorney Kelleen Forlizzi, Wayne was driving a white Land Rover when he crossed over the yellow line and crashed into Briant and Lois Paula head on.
When police arrived on scene, they detected a strong smell of alcohol and noticed Wayne was unsteady and had bloodshot eyes. Wayne provided a false name when police arrested him, officials said, and repeatedly tried to leave the booking area of the Methuen Police Department.
Beer bottles with Wayne's blood and saliva were also recovered from his car and the scene of the accident, police said.
After the accident, Briant Paula was transported to Lawrence General Hospital and pronounced dead. Lois Paula was seriously injured, needing a cane to walk for a period of time following the crash.