On 9/16/16 at approximately 2:10 AM, I was on a detail assignment with a 2 person work crew from Hi-Way Safety Systems in the area of 311 Medford St.
The crew, XXXXX and YYYYY, were applying bicycle safety paint and symbols to the east side of the street. XXXXX and YYYYY utilize multiple pieces of equipment including a supply truck, which at the time was parked just inside of the parking lot at 311 Medford St.(westbound side), and a motorized riding paint applicator.
Utilizing a police cruiser with front and rear emergency lights activated I was positioned at the stretch of the east bound lane where XXXXX and YYYYY were applying the paint in order to provide the workers with a safe work zone.
When refilling the paint applicator, XXXXX and YYYYY would drive it over to the supply truck. While at the back of the truck the paint applicator would be parked on the curb side of the westbound lane. XXXXX and YYYYY deployed multiple orange safety cones around the machine as it took several minutes to refill the paint. I observed multiple vehicles approach this area in the westbound lane. They would simply drive slightly to the left side of the lane and proceed through the work area. The area was well lighted with light from my cruiser head lights, street lights, and safety lights which were activated on the rear and front of the supply truck. Traffic was light and I did not observe any vehicles having difficulty driving through the work zone.
At the time of this incident, I observed a brown sedan driving toward the work zone in the westbound lane. I observed the vehicle drive directly through the coned off work area knocking cones down and then striking the paint applicator propelling it into the rear of a parked utility van where it crashed and fell on its side as white paint sprayed over the area. The striking vehicle did not reduce speed and made no attempt to stop as it continued west on Medford St.
I immediately turned my cruiser around and pursued the vehicle with the emergency lights and siren activated, as I attempted to conduct a motor vehicle stop. As I closed the distance on the sedan, I could clearly hear the sound of scraping metal causing me to believe the striking vehicle had sustained significant damage. The vehicle continued to drive, traveling through the intersection at Pearl St. and the intersection of School St. before finally pulling over in front of 364 Medford St. approximately 1/3 mile away from the accident.
I notified Somerville dispatch of the incident, my location, and the license plate number of the vehicle, MA reg ZZZZZ. I approached the driver side of the vehicle where I encountered a female operator later identified as the vehicle owner, Cheryl Ann Lovett. The driver side window was down as I approached the vehicle. Lovett looked at me and said “what’s going on?” I could immediately smell the odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from Lovett as she spoke. I observed her speech to be slurred and she could not maintain eye contact with me.
I informed her I had stopped her because she had just struck a piece of equipment in the work zone she had just driven by. Lovett stared blankly out the window and said she did not know what I was talking about and that she had “just pulled over because she had a flat tire.” I again explained to her that she just had a car accident. Lovett responded by saying she lived down the street on Adams St. I asked Lovett if she was aware that she had struck something. Lovett stated I heard a bang, but I didn’t think I hit anything, and then I had a flat tire!”
I asked Lovett for her driver’s license and registration. Lovett supplied me with the requested documents and I returned to my vehicle to conduct a query via the CJIS/RMV database. I returned to Lovett and looked at the right side of her vehicle. I observed heavy damage to the right front tire and rim. The tire was completely flat with a 4-6 inch gouge in the side and the rim was bent and scraped. In addition, there were several scrapes and scratched along the right side of the vehicle.
At this time I requested Lovett turn the vehicle off and place the keys on the dashboard. Lovett looked at me and said ” what is going on, did something happen?” I again explained to Lovett that she had struck a piece of equipment causing damage to the machine and her vehicle. She replied saying I have a flat tire, but I didn’t hurt anyone, I’m just on my way home. I live at 15 Adams St.”
At this time Officers Prophete and Lorenti arrived on scene. They too observed an odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from Lovett and her slurred speech. At this time I believed Lovett was operating her vehicle under the influence of alcohol. I asked Lovett how many drinks she had consumed tonight. Lovett stated “I went to work and then went out to dinner with some friends.” I asked her again how many drinks she had consumed tonight. She replied “I went home and then out with some friend for dinner and to celebrate.” I asked her a third time and she stated “I think…. it was about three glasses. Three glasses of wine.”
I asked Lovett to exit the vehicle. She stated that she could not because she did not have her shoes on, and she then began to rummage through her vehicle looking for her shoes. Lovett stated that her shoes are hard to walk in. Lovett stopped looking for her shoes and exited her vehicle as she said “what’s going on why are we here?” I informed Lovett that I had reason to believe she had been drinking and asked her if she would be willing to perform some Standard Field Sobriety Tests. Lovett refused saying I am not going to do any test.” Lovett then stated “my friends all say to not do any test police want you to do when you have been drinking and driving!”
At this time I placed Lovett under arrest. She was transported to the Somerville Police Department via the transportation vehicle (Unit-200), and booked according to department policy by Lt. Ward. All OUI documents were completed and will be added to the report. During the booking process Lovett continued to slur her speech and ask what had happened and state she did not know what had happened.
Lovett is charged with OUI-Liquor MGL c90 s24J, OTE- Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle MGL c90 s24E, and leaving the Scene of Property Damage MGL c90 s24C.
Lovett’s vehicle was inventoried and towed from the scene by Export Towing.
The paint applicator(Graco Rider Line Driver 5900 serial number AAAAA sustained heavy damage include a crack to the center frame. The white utility van, MA reg BBBBB sustained damage to the rear bumper and had white paint on the rear door.
A MA Motor Vehicle Crash Report was completed and Lovett was issued MA uniform citation R678899.
Pictures of the damaged vehicles were taken and will be added as evidence.
Det. Mark Pulli #311