December 6, 2012

Portland Pirates owner charged with OUI

Police say Brian Petrovek, 57, had a blood alcohol content more than three times the legal limit when he crashed.

By David Hench dhench@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

PORTLAND — The managing owner of the Portland Pirates hockey team could face jail time on a charge of drunken driving with a blood alcohol content more than three times the legal limit.

Brian Petrovek, 57, of Yarmouth was driving his black Jeep Wrangler about 1 a.m. Wednesday in downtown Portland when the vehicle hit the concrete barrier that runs down the middle of Spring Street, according to the accident report.

Nobody was injured and no other vehicles were involved.

A passer-by called police to report that the Jeep was stuck on the median at the intersection of Spring and Center streets, at one corner of the Cumberland County Civic Center, where the Pirates play.

When police arrived at 1:18 a.m., Petrovek was in the Jeep, revving the engine and trying to free the vehicle from the barrier, police said.

Police did not say Thursday how the Jeep was immobilized by the median, which is about 2 feet tall.

An officer gave Petrovek a field sobriety test and charged him with operating under the influence. Police said a blood alcohol test later indicated a level of 0.25 percent, more than three times the level of 0.08 percent for a driver to be legally intoxicated.

If convicted, Petrovek could face at least 48 hours in jail, a fine of at least $500 and a 90-day suspension of his driver's license. The jail time is a mandatory minimum when a driver's blood alcohol content is 0.15 percent or more.

Petrovek was taken to the Cumberland County Jail early Wednesday and was released at 9:45 a.m., after someone posted his $500 bail, according to the jail's staff.

State records show that Petrovek has no driving infractions in Maine and does have a number of safe-driving credits.

The accident report says he was "not able to describe his actions prior to the crash." Police were unable to say Thursday where Petrovek had been drinking.

Petrovek did not return telephone calls seeking comment Thursday.

Jo Morrissey, a spokeswoman for 21 Reasons, a coalition that seeks to prevent drinking by minors, said the incident deserves further investigation.

"Unfortunately, no one is immune from abusing alcohol," she said. "To me, the larger issue is who served him." She noted that it is against the law for establishments to serve liquor to people who are visibly intoxicated.

Petrovek is the managing owner/CEO of the Portland Pirates, responsible for managing the business side of the American Hockey League team.

The Pirates are in their second year as the AHL affiliate of the Phoenix Coyotes, the NHL team that provides coaches, players and support staff.

The Pirates have an ownership group that is led by a Boston lawyer, Lyman Bullard, and includes Petrovek.

Bullard did not return a phone call seeking comment, and a spokesman for the Pirates and the Coyotes declined comment.

The Pirates did issue a statement on the team's Facebook page:

"The Portland Pirates want you to know that Brian regrets his lack of discipline and poor judgment which led to his arrest for OUI early Wednesday morning," the statement said. "Brian would like the community to know that he made a mistake and hopes that the people reading and watching these news reports learn from his experience and make better choices. He accepts that he made a poor decision and hopes that everyone refrains from drinking and driving during this holiday season."

The Pirates did not have a game Tuesday night and are in Binghamton, N.Y., for a game Friday night.

In the past week, Jim Playfair, associate coach of the Phoenix Coyotes, and Sean Burke, an assistant to the general manager and goalie coach for the Coyotes, spent several days with the Pirates. Both men were scheduled to return to Phoenix on Wednesday.

In 2006, Kevin Dineen, who was the Pirates' head coach, served a 48-hour jail sentence and paid a $750 fine for driving to endanger after being charged with drunken driving in South Portland on a night out with coaches and players at the end of the season.

Wednesday's accident report includes other details:

• The concrete barrier sustained little or no damage, the road was wet but conditions were clear, the speed limit in the area is 25 mph, and there is a traffic light that was flashing at the time.

• A diagram shows that the front passenger's side of the 2003 Jeep hit the median, and that the vehicle was headed west toward High Street.

• The report also lists Petrovek's vanity license plate: "Arrrrgh."

-- Staff Writer Paul Betit contributed to this report.

Staff Writer David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at:

dhench@pressherald.com

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