Driving charges against Gene Shalit to be dropped

Gene Shalit arrives at the opening night of "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" on Feb. 6, 2003, in New York.
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A misdemeanor driving charge against retired television movie critic Gene Shalit is set to be dismissed this spring in Massachusetts, but until it is, Shalit won't be driving.

That's the terms of an agreement between police and a lawyer for the 86-year-old Shalit, approved during a probable cause hearing Wednesday in Southern Berkshire District Court.

Known for his bushy hair and mustache, Shalit was citedin October after his vehicle struck a utility pole and came to rest against house in Lenox, in western Massachusetts. Shalit, who lives in nearby Stockbridge, wasn't hurt. He told police he fell asleep.

No one in the home was injured but a seasonal produce stand on the front lawn was damaged.

This week's probable cause hearing was continued to April 2, when the driving to endanger charge will be dismissed.

Shalit's lawyer told The Berkshire Eagle that his client won't drive until the next hearing, at which time his driving status will be re-assessed. His license has not been revoked or suspended, although he would have faced a 60-day license suspension as well as a fine or jail time, had he been convicted of the charge.

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