Real Life Somerville Police Stories:Nathan SCHINDLER (OUI Liquor)


On June 19, 2016 at approximately 11:12 PM, Officers J. Yvonne, Marc DiFava, and I (Officer Mark Nevin / West 5) were finishing up a call for a noise complaint on College Avenue and were about to clear when I observed a motor vehicle drive past me heading Northbound without its headlights on. I began to pursue the motor vehicle and immediately activated my cruiser’s emergency lights. The driver continued to drive without reacting to the lights, so I turned on my siren and followed the motor vehicle closely, but it still failed to stop. I began fluctuating the siren to get the driver’s attention and honking the air horn. The driver began to pull over very slowly near Dearborn Road, but then continued to drive, albeit slowly. Officer DiFava was following me. When he saw that the suspect was continuing to drive his car, Officer DiFava passed me and the suspect’s motor vehicle and cut off the suspect’s vehicle. The suspect’s motor vehicle finally stopped at 200 College Avenue, which about a quarter mile from where the pursuit began. My cruiser’s emergency lights and siren are new, so there is no chance that the suspect could have missed them on the stretch of road we were on. The road was straight and dimly lit.

 

Once the suspect’s motor vehicle had stopped, I called in the stop to Somerville Dispatch and both Officer DiFava and I approached the driver to check on him. As soon as he rolled down his window I got a strong smell of alcohol. I told the driver to put his car into park, turn off the ignition, and put the car keys on the dashboard. The driver put the vehicle into park without issue, but did not comply with the other two commands. I repeated the second command several times by itself. He reached for the keys, but had difficulty coordinating his movements. After about the third try he was able to turn off the ignition. Then, I told the driver to remove the keys and place them on the dashboard. He raised both his hands to grasp the steering wheel, but never made it. It looked like he was playing air guitar, but with the steering wheel. Then he dropped his hands into his lap and tried again. He was unable to complete the task. He eventually handed the keys (key fob) to me instead.

 

I asked the driver where he was coming from and he replied that he was coming from Davis Square. I asked him where in Davis Square and he said he was coming from The Foundry. I asked him if he had been drinking and replied that he had been drinking.

 

Given that the driver was experiencing difficulty with the motor vehicle controls, had slurred speech, was slow to respond to my commands, and exhibited a strong odor of alcohol, I formed the opinion that the operator was most likely intoxicated. I told the operator to exit the vehicle and asked him if he would take some field sobriety tests. He agreed to do so. The driver could barely get himself out of his car. He moved very slowly and without much coordination. He tripped on the curb and we had to help keep him upright and stable. I did not ask him for his driver’s license, but he offered it to me at this time. He removed his wallet from his pocket, opened it, and began to remove a credit card and said here’s my license. He very slowly recognized that it was not his license and returned it to his wallet, then removed his driver’s license and handed it to me.

 

The area in which the tests occurred was on a flat, dry, and clean cement sidewalk. The area was well lit by a street lamp, and the sidewalk was level. I removed a card from my pocket with the instructions for administering field sobriety tests. I asked the driver (now known to me as Nathan Schindler) if he wore contact lenses or had any problems with his eyes that may interfere with the first test. He said that he did not. I told him to stand with his feet together and his hands by side while I read the instructions for the first test, the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus. He swayed like a tree in the wind and had difficulty standing still. After reading the instructions, I asked Mr. Schindler if he understood the instructions. He said that he did. Mr. Schindler was unable to follow the tip of my pen without moving his head. I reminded him of the instructions several times, but he was unable to comply. As I moved the pen across his field of vision, his entire head would turn and then pause about 30 degrees then suddenly snap to about 40 degrees. It was like a cog got stuck, then suddenly freed itself. Mr. Schindler was unable to complete this test.

 

The second test I administered was the Walk and Turn. I asked Mr. Schindler if he had any injuries that might prevent him from completing this test and he said that he did not. I told him to stand with his feet together and his hands by his side while I read the instructions to him. He continued to exhibit difficulty standing still. After reading the instructions I demonstrated the task, and asked if he understood the instructions. Again, he said he did. I told him to begin. After his fourth step he could no longer walk heel to toe. His steps were about a foot apart and he was very unstable. He almost fell and instead of stopping and turning on the ninth step, he continued to stumble until I stopped him on his fourteenth step.

 

The last test I administered was the One-Leg Stand. Again I told him to stand with his feet together and arms by his side. This time he could not keep his hands by his side. He kept raising his hands for no apparent reason as he swayed to and fro. After reading the instructions and demonstrating the test, he again said that he understood the instructions. I told him to begin. Instead of beginning the count at one thousand one, he began at one thousand two. He had to put his foot down to keep from falling over after just a few seconds and used his arms to control his balance. He asked if he could start again and I allowed him to do so. The second time he did worse. I stopped the test because he was having so much difficulty maintaining his balance and I was concerned that he would fall and injure himself.

 

Based on the pre and post stop clues, and test results, I determined that Mr. Schindler was very intoxicated and placed him under arrest. Officer DiFava requested the prisoner transport wagon from Somerville Dispatch and a tow truck for Mr. Schindler’s car. Mr. Schindler was transported by Officer J. Teves to the Somerville Police Station, where he was booked by Lt. R. Lavey. Mr. Schindler refused to take the alcohol breath test. His refusal was entered into the BATS systems. His motor vehicle was towed by Pat’s towing, incident to arrest. Mr. Schindler was issued a criminal citation for operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and it was put with his property, which he will get when he is released.

 

Respectfully submitted by,

 

Officer Mark Nevin, #300

Somerville Police Department

 

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