Real Life Somerville Police Stories

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Novoa arrest age 41

On Tuesday, December 16th, 2014, I, Officer Christopher Collette was assigned to Somerville marked unit East Four. At approximately 20:50 hours I was dispatched to the area of 415 Medford St. for the report of a
motor vehicle accident where a female was attempting to flee the scene. The suspect vehicle was described as a gray Toyota Highlander bearing MA Reg# 1629KX. Medford St. is a public way in the City of Somerville. As I arrived on scene I observed the suspect vehicle was stopped, and had suffered heavy damage to the passenger side of the vehicle. Two men and a female were standing on the sidewalk near the vehicle. The female was later identified as Ms. Gladys Novoa She is the registered owner of the Toyota and will be here after referred to as the defendant in this report.

I asked the defendant if the damaged Toyota was hers. She stated that it was. I asked her what happened and she stated that she did not know. She began to apologize. After pointing out the damage to the defendant’s vehicle she stated that she did not know what happened but had been at a Christmas party at her work in Cambridge. I asked the defendant if she had been drinking. One of the witnesses made it clear that he believed that the defendant had been drinking. I’d like to note that the witness is a firefighter for the City of Somerville and the nature of his work suggests that he is able to recognize when a person is under the influence of a substance. The defendant stated that she had consumed three glasses of wine at her Christmas party. As I spoke with the defendant I was able to detect an odor consistent with that of an alcoholic beverage emanating from her person. Also while speaking with the defendant, the witness informed me that he and the other vehicle owner heard a crash and observed the defendant fleeing. The witness and another male chased after the defendant and finally persuaded her to stop and exit her vehicle.

Officer Nevin arrived on scene shortly thereafter. He escorted the witness back to the accident scene as I directed the defendant across the street where there was better lighting. Due to the defendant’s admission to consuming several alcoholic beverages, and to the odor I detected on her person I believed that field sobriety testing (FSTs) was in order. As I prepared to begin testing, I asked the defendant if she had any injuries or medical conditions that would prevent her from performing these tests. She stated that she did not. I also asked the defendant if she would like to remove her shoes before performing any FST. She again refused. Before starting the testing I requested that Officer Nevin return to my location as a witness to the results. Officer Berrouet responded allowing Officer Nevin to investigate the site of the accident. I then began FSTs. The first test I administered is known as the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test, or HGN. This test detects Nystagmus, or the involuntary jerking of the eyes which occurs when under the influence of liquor. I explained the test to the defendant and found only two clues of impairment. The next test I administered was the one leg stand. I demonstrated the test to the defendant, but she would not attempt it. She didn’t outwardly refuse, but she did not begin the test and became upset. She stated that she was nervous.

After the defendant regained her composure, I attempted to perform the FSTs again. I administered the HGN test again and she passed, exhibiting less than the four clues suggesting impairment, however she was finding it difficult to keep her head still and her eyes opened wide enough. Once again she stalled when it came to performing the one leg stand. I then asked the defendant to recite the alphabet without singing it. She began to sing the alphabet. She stopped and began again. While reciting the alphabet, the defendant forgot the letter “L” and asked what letter comes next. Due to the totality of circumstances, I placed the defendant under arrest for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence. The defendant was transported to the station Via Unit #200.

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