Police Officer Faces Charges in Traffic Death of 26-Year-Old Man

A Lowell police officer has been charged motor vehicle homicide, driving under the influence of alcohol and other charges after a crash that caused the death of a 26-year-old Lawrence man in Methuen.

Briant Paula was killed on Riverside Drive when a vehicle driven by Eric Wayne, 41, of Lowell, crossed into Paula's lane . The victim was trapped in the vehicle and required extrication by Methuen Firefighters utilizing the jaws of life, according to Methuen Police. He was subsequently transported to Lawrence General Hospital suffering from massive trauma where he was declared deceased.

Wayne was also arrested for negligent operation of a motor vehicle, marked lanes violation and having an open container of alcohol.

Methuen Police were dispatched to Riverside Drive around 12:30, Saturday morning, after a report of a serious vehicle crash. Methuen Fire Department and Lawrence General Paramedics also responded. Police said a preliminary investigation found  a 2013 Land Rover, operated by Wayne, was travelling westbound on Riverside Drive. Simultaneously, a 1998 Mercury Mountaineer, operated by Paula, of 673 Essex Street, Lawrence, was travelling eastbound.

"It appears the Land Rover, crossed over the double yellow line and collided with the Mercury Mountaineer," police said. Wayne refused medical treatment. As result of an officer’s observations and investigation, Wayne was subsequently placed under arrest and transported to the Methue Police Department.

Wayne, who is currently employed as a Lowell police officer, is being held on $100,000 cash bail pending arraignment at Lawrence District Court.