Real Life Somerville Police Stories: Paul DENIS (OUI Liquor)

On Saturday, December 16, 2017, I, Officer Paul Beckford, was on duty for the Somerville Police (E3). At approximately 3:34 AM, Officer Jose Ramirez (E2), and I were dispatched to 50 Tufts St. for a check condition of a motor vehicle parked in the middle of the road. Tufts Street is a two way street in the City of Somerville.

Upon arrival, we located a man sleeping behind the wheel of a motor vehicle. The owner and operator of this vehicle was a Mr. Paul Denis. I used the cruiser air horn to see if Mr. Denis would wake up, which this did not work. While looking through the driver’s side window I could see that the vehicle is still in drive and his foot was still on the brake. I used the right side of my fist to bang on the driver’s side window. After several attempt, Mr. Denis finally woke up. I ordered Mr. Denis to roll down his window, put the vehicle in park, and take the key out of the ignition. Mr. Denis appeared to be confused. After several attempts Mr. Denis was able to complete the task.

While speaking with Mr. Denis his eyes were red and glassy and I could smell a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his person. I ordered Mr. Denis to step out of the vehicle. I asked Mr. Denis if he was feeling sick, and if he needed to go to the hospital. He stated “I’m not sick, I’m fine.” I asked Mr. Denis where he lived, he stated “Cambridge.” I then asked Mr. Denis if he knew what city he was in. He replied “Cambridge, Somerville, Cambridge.” I asked Mr. Denis where he was earlier. He stated “I was at a house party.” I asked if they served alcohol at the house party and if so did you have a drink? He stated “Yes, they had liquor and I only had two drinks.” Based on my training and experience it appeared that Mr. Denis was possibly under the influence of alcohol. I advised, Mr. Denis that I would like for him to perform a series of field sobriety tests. If he was unable to perform the test for medical reasons, he could let me know at any point. Mr. Denis agreed to take the test. He stated “I don’t have any medical problems.”

The first field sobriety test was the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (HGN). I instructed, and demonstrated on how to perform the HGN test. I informed him to let me know when he’s ready to begin. During the HGN there was a lack of smooth pursuit, and sustained HGN at maximum deviation. I had to stop and demonstrate several times because he was using his head while following the tip of my pen, which was not what I instructed.

The second field sobriety test I instructed, and demonstrated was the walk and turn. Officers made sure that the test area was flat, and well-lit with the cruiser spot lights. During the test Mr. Denis was unsteady on his feet and was using his arms for balance. He fell off the line several times to catch his balance. Mr. Denis fell off the line at 5,6,7 and on the way back he fell off the line at 4,5,6.  Mr. Denis did not maintain contact between his heel and his toe. He failed to take short choppy steps while turning. He did not take 9 steps as instructed and demonstrated, he took 10 steps and on the way back he took 11 steps.

The third field sobriety test that I instructed, and demonstrated was the one leg stand. During the test Mr. Denis could not maintain his balance. He was using his arms and sudden hops on one leg in an attempt to maintain balance.

Mr. Denis was placed under arrest for OUI Liquor. The motor vehicle was towed by Pats. Mr. Denis was transported to the Somerville Police Station by Officer George Dervishian with our transport vehicle (200). Once at the station, he was booked in the usual manner by the overnight Commander Lieutenant Richard Lavey. After Mr. Denis was Mirandized, he informed Lt. Lavey that he was at a lounge in Chinatown and his last drink was at 1:30 AM. He also informed Lt. Lavey that his last meal was a slice of pizza sometime during the afternoon. While at the station Mr. Denis volunteered to take the breathalyzer, which was administered by Officer Dervishian. Mr. Denis results regarding breathalyzer was 0.11.

Respectfully submitted

Officer: Paul Beckford

Badge: 319

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