Real Life Somerville Police Stories: Ronnie MENDES (OUI Liquor, Negl. MV Op, Op MV w/Susp Reg.)

On, 04/18/2018, while assigned to marked unit East-4, I was on routine patrol at a red-light near the intersection of Temple Street and Mystic Ave, both public ways in the city of Somerville. I randomly queried a vehicle that passed by me, MA REG xxxx, a gray Honda, on the mobile data terminal in my department issued vehicle. CJIS was showing the vehicle to have a suspended registration. I performed a U-turn and reversed direction on Temple Street. I could see the vehicle driving backwards away from Memorial Road and then drive down Memorial Road. I activated my blue emergency lights and siren, signaling the vehicle to pull over. The vehicle pulled over in front of 1x Memorial Road. I called the vehicle stop into dispatch, requested another unit, and to confirm the suspended status on the registration. East-1 (Officer Schneider) was dispatched as backup. Unit-93 (Chief Mead) also responded as he was in the area. I approached the vehicle and requested the license and registration of the operator who was also the registered owner, Mr. Ronnie Mendes. Mr. Mendes informed me he couldn’t find his license and provided me with the registration. I then explained to him that the vehicles registration was suspended. I requested a tow from Sierra-8 (Sergeant Holland) and it was approved.

At this time I attempted to explain to Mr. Mendes that the vehicle could not be driven and it would be towed. Chief Mead then asked a woman (Later found to be Mr. Mendes’ mother) to step back, as she was coming up from my blind side. Mr. Mendes became irate at this and began yelling at Chief Mead. Mr. Mendes exited the vehicle and being in closer proximity to him I could detect an odor of alcohol coming from his breath, noticed his walking to be unsteady. He also looked directly at me for the first time and I noticed his eyes to be red and glossy. Mr. Mendes’ speech was also slowed comparatively to what one would expect from someone, and he was slurring his words. Mr. Mendes continued to berate Chief Mead and I was able to calm him down. I explained to Mr. Mendes due to his speech and his body language I wanted him to perform some field sobriety tests. He complied. Mr. Mendes was lead up to the sidewalk where it was flat and dry.

The first test I administered was the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus Test. All the instructions for the tests I performed were read from a booklet issued to me in the Lowell Police Academy from the Massachusetts Police Training Committee. I will provide a copy of the instructions with this report and also submit it with my evidence packet.

I asked Mr. Mendes if he was wearing contacts or wore glasses. He said no to both.

I explained to Mr. Mendes to follow the tip of my finger and to focus only on the tip of my finger, I also explained to him not to move his head and to only follow with his eyes. He stated that he understood.

Upon performing the test Mr. Mendes showed no resting nystagmus.

Mr. Mendes showed lack of smooth pursuit in both eyes

Mr. Mendes Showed distinct and sustained nystagmus at maximum deviation

Mr. Mendes showed onset of nystagmus prior to 45 degrees in both eyes.

The next test I administered was the One Leg stand.

I explained the test to Mr. Mendes, again reading from the instructions booklet. I also asked Mr. Mendes if he had any injuries. Mr. Mendes stated at first that he had injuries to both of his knees and that the test was impossible. Officer Schneider asked him to explain the injuries and he stated that his right leg had once been injured so his left leg was his dominant leg. It took several times to explain to Mr. Mendes that he could use either leg and that the leg he used was his choice. Mr. Mendes was finally able to understand what we were explaining and he performed the test. Mr. Mendes several times had to use his arms for balance, but otherwise performed well.

The last test I administered was the walk and turn test.

I requested that Mr. Mendes keep his hands by his sides and explained the test to him. I explained that he would be walking a straight line and since we did not have a marked line on the side walk, he should imagine one. I explained to Mr. Mendes to place his left foot on the imaginary line and put his right foot in front of it, keeping his right heel touching his left toe. I explained to Mr. Mendes how he was to perform the test, taking 9 heel-to-toe steps, turning, and taking 9 heel-to-toe steps again. I then demonstrated to Mr. Mendes. I asked if he understood and he said he did. Mr. Mendes began the test and performed as follows:

Mr. Mendes stumbled off the line twice on the initial walk.

Was unable to maintain heel-to-toe steps

Took 11 steps instead of 9

Performed the turn as instructed

Stumbled off the line twice more

I then requested Mr. Mendes to recite the alphabet from letter “C” to “P” Mr. Mendes repeated what I said twice and then performed as requested.

I asked Mr. Mendes when the last time he drank was and he stated he had not been drinking. I explained to Mr. Mendes that I could smell it on him and he stated that he had consumed one beer approximately 30 minutes prior to our interaction.

Due to Mr. Mendes’ performance on the test’s I informed him he was under arrest and to place his hands behind his back. I handcuffed Mr. Mendes (DL) and Officer Schneider requested Unit-200, the prisoner transport vehicle.

Mr. Mendes was transported to the Somerville Police Department in the prisoner transport vehicle by Officer Buswell and booked in the usual manner by Lieutenant Digregorio. Mr. Mendes was offered to take a breathalyzer and refused.

Mr. Mendes was issued the notice of suspension of his license.

Mr. Mendes was ultimately charged with OUI liquor, Operation of a MV after suspension of registration and Negligent Operation of a motor vehicle.

He was issued MA uniform Citation T0403780 for the above offenses and will be mailed a separate citation for an expired inspection sticker.

Two plates for the vehicle were confiscated.

All pertinent paper work will be scanned for safe keeping and submitted to evidence.

Respectfully submitted,

Officer Christopher Fusco #328

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