Real Life Somerville Police Stories

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Merida Arrest

On June 7, 2014 I, Officer deOliveira, was in full uniform and assigned to marked unit for the Somerville Police Department. At approximately 10:20 p.m., I was dispatched to Lincoln Street, in the City of Somerville, for a motor vehicle accident.

Upon arrival, I immediately observed a vehicle in the middle of the street. That vehicle was a 2004 Honda Element black in color, assigned to a Gustavo Merida. Standing next to that vehicle was a male, later identified as the owner and operator of the vehicle, Mr. Merida. I also observed 2 vehicles, legally parked on the public way, with fresh damage to their left side: the first was a 2006 Honda Accord gray in color and the second was a 2014 Chevy Traverse black in color. Vehicle 2 had major damage to the left rear wheel, which was bent inward.

Owner of vehicle 2 was the reporting party, and also witness to the accident. The accident happened in front of her house. She told me that she heard the crash and went outside to look. She saw that her vehicle had been struck, and she saw the black Honda Element in the middle of the street in an angle. She also saw Mr. Merida alone inside the vehicle, in the driver’s seat. Mr. Merida exited the vehicle, but she and her husband were able to prevent Mr. Merida from leaving, keeping him there until my arrival.

I brought Mr. Merida to the front of his vehicle, where it was well-lit by his vehicle’s headlights, the street lights, and my flashlight. As I engaged Mr. Merida in conversation, during which he admitted to have consumed alcoholic beverages that same night, I noticed he had red, bloodshot eyes, his speech was slurred as he spoke to me, and a strong odor of alcohol emanated from his breath. Based on my observations, Mr. Merida was placed in custody and transported to the Somerville Police Department. Mr. Merida’s vehicle was towed incident to his arrest. I noticed fresh damage to the right front side of his vehicle: the right front bumper had damage and the right front wheel was bent.

The first test I had Mr. Merida perform was the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. I then told him to keep his head still and follow the tip of my pen with his eyes only. He stated he understood my instructions. For most of the test he couldn’t keep his head still as he followed the movements of my pen. I also checked for a Vertical Gaze Nystagmus, and Mr. Merida had distinct and sustained Nystagmus on both eyes.

The second test I administered was the 9 Step Walk and Turn. As previously mentioned, Mr. Merida was on in a dry and smooth surface, non slippery, spacious and well-lit area, and with a clearly marked straight line. There was sufficient room for him to complete nine steps. I demonstrated and explained the test fully, and he stated he understood my instructions. I asked him if he had any injuries which would prevent him from performing this test, which he answered no. My observations were that Mr. Merida did not touch heel to toe, took the wrong number of steps, stepped off the straight line, and did not turn properly, as demonstrated.

The last test I had Mr. Merida perform was the One Leg Stand. I demonstrated and explained the test fully, and he stated he understood my instructions. My observations were that Mr. Merida used his arms for balance and placed his foot down when on numbers 7 and 11. At that point, Field Sobriety testing was concluded.

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