Real Life Somerville Police Stories:OUI Arrest

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Harrison Arrest Age 31

On Friday, November 7, 2014, I, Officer Michael Cabral, was assigned to marked unit West-7. At approximately 9:36 PM, I responded to a 2 car motor vehicle accident with injury at the intersection of Broadway and Curtis Street (both streets are public ways in the City of Somerville). Upon arrival, Officer Wyatt was assisting the injured parties in vehicle #2 bearing MA REG
43LZ87 as documented in the accident report. Officer Monaco was with the male operator of Vehicle #1, bearing MA REG P79314 that struck the rear end of vehicle #2.

As I approached Officer Monaco, I noticed that he was holding the male party up to prevent him from falling to the ground. I asked the gentleman if he was injured and as he looked at me, I noticed that his eyes were glassy and blood shot and that he had a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his breath. The male stated “No I’m fine, leave me alone” I then asked the male if he consumed any alcohol tonight and he stated, “I had one beer”. The male was identified by his driver’s license as Mr. Earl Harrison. As Mr. Harrison was walking towards me, I observed Mr. Harrison to be unsteady on his feet, and had to be escorted by Officer DiFava to my location to prevent him from falling. Mr. Harrison stated to me that he did “nothing wrong”, I advised him that he was involved in a motor vehicle accident and that I would be conducting a series of field sobriety tests with him to decide if he was under the influence of alcohol. Mr. Harrison responded, “I was not in a accident and I have not been drinking either,” despite the fact he had already admitted to consuming one beer. I found a well lit area with no obstructions in road that would hinder Mr. Harrison’s performance during the test. I again advised Mr. Harrison that I would be conducting 3 different sobriety tests on him, and that I would explain each exam to him to and ask him if he understands each one prior to him conducting the exams.

The first test that I conducted on Mr. Harrison was the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN) Test. I explained to Mr. Harrison that I wanted him to focus on the tip of my pen and that I wanted him to follow the tip with his eyes only, and not with his head. I asked Mr. Harrison if he understood the instructions and he stated “yes”. I then asked Mr. Harrison if he had contacts in his eyes or if he was on any medication. Mr. Harrison stated “no”. As I conducted the test looking for smooth pursuit of the eyes, Mr. Harrison disregarded my directions and used his head to follow the pen, rather than his eyes. I then attempted to test for maximum deviation, and again Mr. Harrison disregarded my instructions and used his head to follow the pen, rather than his eyes. The last portion of the HGN test was to check for an onset prior to reaching a 45 degree angle. As I conducted this test, his eyes continued to jerk to the center and back, which according to my training and experience, would not happen to an individual had they consumed no alcohol. Based on these results, Mr. Harrison failed this examination.

The second test conducted was the “one leg stand.” I asked Mr. Harrison if he had any medical conditions that would prevent him from doing this test. Mr. Harrison stated, “what tests? I do not need any test, I am a grown man driving my car, I did nothing wrong.” I again advised Mr. Harrison that he was being asked to take these tests to determine if he was under the influence of alcohol and that he was involved in a car accident. Mr. Harrison stated, “I was not involved in any accident and I had one drink”. I advised Mr. Harrison that we will be conducting the second exam and asked if he was ready to for the instructions. Mr. Harrison said “yeah ok.” I explained to Mr. Harrison again, that the next test would be the one leg stand and asked if he had any medical conditions that would prevent him from doing this exam. Mr. Harrison stated “no.” I explained to Mr. Harrison that he is to stand straight up with his hands to his side, and to lift his right foot with his toes facing the sky and count 1/1000 of a second until he reaches 5/1000 of a second and to put his foot down. I asked Mr. Harrison if he understood the instructions, to which he replied “ok”. As Mr. Harrison began the test, he counted “1/1000, 2/1000, 4/1000” before stumbling over himself. Officer DiFava intercepted Mr. Harrison as he began to fall, to prevent him from sustaining any injury. Based on my observations, Mr. Harrison failed this examination.

At this time, I placed Mr. Harrison under arrest and requested the prisoner transport vehicle to respond to my location. Mr. Harrison stated, “I did nothing wrong, I did nothing wrong”. I explained for the third time that he was involved in an accident and operating under the influence of alcohol. Mr. Harrison replied, “What? I did not get into an accident, no way, I didn’t crash”. As I was waiting for the wagon, Officer Monaco asked if I saw what was in his car. As I walked over to the vehicle, I was joined by the Street Supervisor Sergeant Isidoro. Sergeant Isidoro and I noticed in the passenger seat what appeared to be at least 6 beer cans that were open and leaking on the seat. Mr. Harrison was then advised that he was also going to be charged for having an open container of alcohol inside his motor vehicle. Mr. Harrison stated, “I wasn’t drinking” and he began to yell this several times. Officer Wyatt approached me and advised that there was a witness to the accident. The witness, Mr. Brad Martin, told Officer Wyatt that “the vehicle was at the red light” and that the male “driving the other car was driving at a good speed and never stepped on his brake” and made contact with the vehicle in front of him. Somerville Fire Department and Cataldo EMS arrived on scene and began to assist all parties involved. Mr. Harrison was evaluated and asked if he was injured, to which he stated “no, I don’t want to go, I’m fine”. Officer Monaco and I assisted Mr. Harrison into the prisoner wagon and was transported to Somerville Police Station by Officer DeOliveira.

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