Real Life Somerville Police Stories:OUI Liquor Arrest

On November 13, 2015 while on patrol in marked unit East-2 with Officer Ramirez, we were dispatched to a motor vehicle crash at 216 McGrath Highway (a public way in the city of Somerville). Upon arrival we encountered a man later identified as Matthew Nielsen. Mr. Nielsen was outside of the vehicle walking around. It should be noted the crash was immediately noticeable. There was substantial front end damage, the barricade on the side of the on ramp had been destroyed, and the car had been turned perpendicular to the direction of travel. Officer Ramirez asked Mr. Nielsen if he was ok, to which he replied “yes” and then asked Mr. Nielsen to sit down inside the vehicle so he would not accidently walk into the way of any other cars or responding emergency vehicles. At this point medical and fire were requested from dispatch. I then began speaking to Mr. Nielsen, asking him what had occurred. He informed me that he had left a friend’s house in Cambridge and was going home to Fairhaven. He then said he had looked down at the gps in his car and struck the metal barrier on the on-ramp to McGrath Highway. During the conversation with Mr. Nielsen I noticed a strong smell of an alcoholic beverage coming from his person as he spoke. Mr. Nielsen then spoke to EMS from Cataldo who he refused medical attention from.

        It was at this point I asked Mr. Nielsen if he had been drinking and he said yes, that he had a few drinks earlier in the evening. I asked Mr. Nielsen if he would consent to performing several field sobriety tests, to which he complied. I asked Mr. Nielsen to follow me away from the crash over to a flat surface that was directly below a street lamp. Officer Ramirez witnessed the tests. I began by explaining to Mr. Nielsen that I would read the directions for each test out of a booklet. This booklet was provided by the MPTC during my time at the Lowell Police Academy. I began with the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test. I asked Mr. Nielsen if he wore contacts, to which he replied “no” he was also not wearing glasses. I instructed Mr. Nielsen that during the first test I would need him to follow my finger without moving his head. I asked if he understood the directions to which he replied in the affirmative. During this test I did not notice any resting nystagmus.

        For the first exam I saw lack of smooth pursuit in both the left and right eye, distinct and sustained nystagmus at maximum deviation in both the left and right eye, however I did not see onset of nystagmus prior to 45 degrees in either eye. I rechecked each eye performing the same test, and observing the same results.

        The second test I asked for Mr. Nielsen to perform was the one leg stand test. I asked Mr. Nielsen if he had any injuries from prior to the crash or caused by the crash that would preclude him from performing any tests that would involve balancing on one leg or walking in a straight line. He informed me that his right knee was sore but he could balance on his other leg. For this test I asked Mr. Nielsen to stand with his feet together and his arm down by his sides while I explained and demonstrated the one leg stand test. I noticed a slight sway in Mr. Nielsens stance while I explained it. I informed Mr. Nielsen he would need to raise one foot approximately six inches, with it parallel to the ground. I also informed him he would need to look at the tip of his toe while performing this test and counting in the manner of “One-one thousand, two-one thousand, three-one thousand, etc” until I told him to stop. I asked if he had any questions or if he would be unable to perform this test due to his leg to which he replied in the negative. During this test Mr. Nielsen dropped his foot twice, was unable to keep it parallel to the ground, and miscounted (missed number 11 while counting and after 13 dropped the “one-thousand”) In the 30 seconds that I had timed Mr. Nielsen in his counting he made it to twenty one.

        The last test I performed on Mr. Nielsen was the walk and turn test. I explained and demonstrated this test for Mr. Nielsen explaining that he would take nine heel-to-toe steps, turn and take nine heel-to-toe steps. During this test Mr. Nielsen was missing the heel-to toe part with a gap between his feet, he was stepping out of line, and losing his balance.

        Due to the observations Officer Ramirez and I made, Mr. Nielsen was taken into custody (DL) on the charge of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of liquor. Mr. Nielsen was transported to the station via the transport wagon (unit 200) and booked by Lieutenant Lavey.


Respectfully Submitted


Officer C. Fusco #328

Somerville Police Department



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