Real Life Somerville Police Stories

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Figaro Arrest

At approximately 6:00 pm, I was waiting at a red light in my cruiser facing southbound on Willow Ave. where it intersects with Highland Ave., public
ways in the city of Somerville. The temperature was in the 70’s, and it was a clear, sunny day. I observed a black BMW sedan collide into the rear of a stopped Black Honda Civic, which appeared to be waiting to take a left onto Willow Ave. from Highland Ave. Both vehicles were facing Eastbound on Highland Ave. The collision demolished the front end of the BMW, the rear end of the Honda Civic and caused the airbag in the BMW to deploy.

I radioed Somerville dispatch with the situation, as I witnessed the Honda civic pull to the side of the street, and a male exit the now disabled BMW. The male, later identified as Fritz Figaro via MA drivers license, approached the female operator of the Honda and began to yell at her. I initiated my blue lights and sirens, and pulled my cruiser around behind the disabled BMW in the middle of Highland Ave. I was joined shortly after by Officer Nevin (West-6), and Officer Jean-Jacques (West-5).

I began to speak with Figaro, and immediately noticed the strong odor of alcoholic beverage emanating from his breath. Figaro’s eyes were bloodshot and glassy. I asked Figaro if he required medical attention and he replied that he did not. As Figaro spoke I noticed that his speech was slightly slurred. Figaro entered his BMW and stated that he was going to pull his vehicle to the side of the road. The front end of the BMW was demolished and fluid was leaking from the engine compartment. I had Figaro exit the vehicle and move to the sidewalk. Somerville fire fighters showed up, as well as Cataldo Ambulance personnel. Figaro refused medical attention on several occasions during our encounter.

I asked Figaro if he had consumed any alcoholic beverages or drugs and he stated no. I asked Figaro if he was willing to perform some field sobriety tests, and he agreed. I would note, that I am certified in Standardized Field Sobriety Tests, as well as Advanced Roadside Impaired Driving Enforcement. Prior to any tests, I asked Figaro if he had any physical impairments or medical conditions that might interfere with the tests, and he stated no. Figaro was wearing brown loafer type shoes and indicated that he was comfortable in them. The area where the tests were taken was on a flat, paved side walk, free from any apparent defects, during daylight. Figaro was not wearing glasses, but stated that he was wearing contacts. I would note that I used the tip of a silver pen as a stimulus for the various eye tests.

I performed the following tests:

WALK AND TURN
Figaro assumed the starting position of the test, and swayed for balance, reaching out to a nearby wall to steady himself. As I started to explain the test, Figaro began the test. Several times, I told Figaro to wait until I told him to begin the test. Losing balance during the instructional phase and starting the test early are both validated clues of impairment. During the walk turn test, I observed Figaro step off the line, count the wrong number of steps, miss his heel to toe, raise his arms for balance more than six inches, and turn improperly. For the walk and turn test, 2 out of 8 validated clues indicate impairment. Figaro exhibited 7 out of the 8 validated clues for the walk and turn test, indicating impairment.

ONE LEG STAND
After explaining and demonstrating the one leg stand to Figaro, I asked if he understood or had any questions about the test. Figaro stated, “I got this.” During the test, Figaro dropped his foot several times, used his arms for balance, and swayed while balancing. 2 out of 4.

MODIFIED ROMBERG BALANCE TEST
Figaro was directed to put his feet together, tilt his head back, close his eyes, and when he believed 30 seconds had elapsed, to open his eyes and say stop. After 5 seconds, Figaro stopped and stated he was done. I asked Figaro if he believed 30 seconds had passed, and he stated yes. I explained that only 5 seconds had elapsed, and performed the test again. After approximately 15 seconds, Figaro stated he was done.

I formed the opinion that Figaro had been operating his vehicle while impaired, under the influence of alcohol. I placed Figaro under arrest, placing him into handcuffs in a manner consistent with my training. Figaro asked if he could tell me something. I read Figaro his Miranda rights. I then asked him if he understood his rights and still wished to speak with me. He stated yes. Figaro stated that he had one beer. When I told Figaro that I found it unlikely, based on the indications of his impairment, he stated, “I’m fucked, aren’t I?”

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