Real Life Somerville Police Stories: James KEELAN JR (OUI Liquor)

On Friday, July 13, 2018, while assigned to marked unit East-4, I, Officer Catatao, was on a motor vehicle stop on Central Street when I heard Somerville Housing Authority Chief Daniel Meade call over the air to Somerville Control that he was just made aware of a motor vehicle operating erratically. Chief Meade then stated he was following the vehicle westbound on Broadway, a public way in the city of Somerville, towards Walgreens. Somerville Control dispatched marked unit East-1 to assist Chief Meade in stopping the vehicle. As I cleared my motor vehicle stop, Chief Meade advised East-1 and Somerville Control that they were passing Walgreens and continuing westbound on Broadway. I was traveling on Central Street towards Broadway when I observed a black pickup truck, driving westbound on Broadway, at a speed that appeared to be greater than the posted speed limit of 30MPH, followed by what appeared to be an unmarked cruiser. I immediately activated my emergency lights and sirens and turned left onto Broadway from Central Street and saw the unmarked cruiser activate its emergency lights and stopped the black pickup truck on Broadway across from Glenwood Road. I pulled up behind the unmarked cruiser and saw Chief Meade as he stepped out of the vehicle. I radioed to Somerville Control that I was with Chief Meade and that we had the vehicle stopped at Broadway and Glenwood Road. Chief Meade then approached me and stated that he had been following the vehicle since McGrath Highway and Broadway where he was made aware of it by a female known to Chief Meade as XXXX.

Chief Meade was in the right lane and XXXX was in the left lane, and the black pickup truck was in the middle lane, ahead of Chief Meade and XXXX. XXXX informed Chief Meade of the driver of the vehicle saying “something is wrong with him” and that she witnessed him almost fail to stop for two red lights on Broadway coming from Charlestown. It was at this time Chief Meade started following the vehicle. The vehicle, Massachusetts registration xxxx, a 2015 Chevy Colorado, color black, is registered to the defendant, later identified as James KEELAN.

As I approached the vehicle, I observed the driver to be a white male, later identified as the defendant, KEELAN. Immediately I could see KEELAN’S eyes were glassy and pinpoint. I then observed several bottles of small alcoholic containers on the center console. As I asked KEELAN for his license and registration, KEELAN handed me his Vehicle Inspection Report and then began to look for his license and he said “I don’t have anything.” I then asked KEELAN for his registration as I informed him that he had handed me his Vehicle Inspection Report instead of his registration. KEELAN then began to attempt to look for his registration but then stopped and asked why had he been stopped. I could smell an odor reminiscent of an alcoholic beverage as he spoke and could also hear that his speech was slurred. I told KEELAN that we had been alerted to his vehicle by other motorists who witnessed him driving erratically and that Chief Meade had been following him and also observed him to be driving recklessly. KEELAN had veered several times to the left while in the left lane on Broadway, westbound, almost striking the median by the Somerville Fire Headquarters and again by the intersection of Broadway and Temple Street.

I then asked KEELAN to turn the vehicle off and to step out. KEELAN looked at me and just stared at me. I then asked him again to turn the vehicle off and step out and he did. As KEELAN stepped out of the vehicle, I noticed he had no shoes on and that there two, small alcohol bottles, also known as a “Nips” on the floor by the peddles. I could then clearly see that the “Nips” in the center console were empty. I also observed KEELAN to be unsteady on his feet as he exited the vehicle, almost falling into me. At this time, marked unit East-1, Officer Pavao, arrived on scene. I then asked KEELAN to step onto the sidewalk and out of the street and he reached out to grab me as if to steady himself. I backed up and Chief Meade told him to not touch me. KEELAN pulled his arm back and began to walk unsteadily to the sidewalk. As he approached the curb, he just stood there and looked at it. I asked KEELAN to step up onto the sidewalk and he just continued to stare at it. I told KEELAN again to step up onto the sidewalk and he slowly looked at me, swaying, and shouted “I’M DEAF!” Finally, KEELAN stepped up onto the sidewalk and stood facing me. I told KEELAN I was going to being administering Field Sobriety Tests to determine whether or not he was under the influence. I asked KEELAN if he would be willing to perform the tests and he said “Yes.” Officer Pavao handed me his Field Sobriety Test card and I used it to administer the tests to KEELAN.

The first test I started with was the One Leg Stand test. I told KEELAN I would be instructing him on how to perform the test, as well as demonstrating it, before asking him to perform it. As I read the directions of the test to KEELAN, he began to try and perform the test himself. I told KEELAN to just listen to and watch me first then I would tell him to start. Before asking KEELAN to begin, I asked if he had any medical issues with his legs I should know about and he replied “Yes I’ve been blown up so many fucking times!” I then asked if he would be able to perform the test and he replied “No” but began to anyway. As KEELAN lifted his left foot, he reached out behind him to grab the wall and asked if he could hold onto it and I said “No.” He then tried to stand on his left leg alone but began to fall to the right, forcing Chief Meade to grab him and steady him and KEELAN shouted “I can’t do it!”

I then told KEELAN I would now be demonstrating the Walk & Turn test and again told him to listen to and watch me first before beginning the test. I used the white line from the pedestrian crosswalk that was next to us to perform this test. As I began to read the directions and demonstrate the exam, KEELAN began to do the test and I stopped him and told him to wait to start until I told him to. After completing the demonstration, I asked KEELAN to begin. KEELAN was able to touch heel-to-toe on the first two steps but on the third and subsequent steps, he no longer was touching heel-to-toe and was leaving foot long gaps between his feet and took 12 steps down until I stopped him to tell him to turn around and head back with 9 heel-to-toe steps. KEELAN did not turn on one foot to return and did not touch heel-to-toe again on the way back. He also took more than 9 steps returning.

The last test I administered to KEELAN was the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test. I read the directions to KEELAN and repeatedly told him to follow the tip of my pen, which was the stimulus, only with his eyes and without moving his head. KEELAN kept asking me for my phone number instead of listening to the instructions. I had to tell KEELAN several times to pay attention and focus on the stimulus. As I began the test, I moved my pen slowly to the right and KEELAN followed the stimulus with his eyes and I could see a lack of smooth pursuit as his eyes traveled to the right, the onset of Nystagmus prior to 45 degrees, and a distinct and sustained Nystagmus at maximum deviation. I repeated this on the left and found the same findings.

Due to my observations of KEELAN during these tests, I determined KEELAN to be impaired and under the influence of alcohol and placed him under arrest for OUI liquor and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. After placing KEELAN into custody and sitting him down on the curb, KEELAN stated to me “Do you know how long it would take for me to grab your gun and shoot you in the head with it?” I ignored KEELAN’S question and advised Somerville Control to start the prisoner transport vehicle to our location.

Marked unit 200 arrived on scene and KEELAN was placed inside and brought to the Somerville Police Department where he was booked by the shift commander. Pursuant to KEELAN’S arrest, his motor vehicle was towed by Pat’s Towing. During the inventory process of KEELAN’S car, 11 empty bottles of Smirnoff “Root Beer” flavored vodka were collected, along with three unopened ones. KEELAN was also issued Massachusetts Uniform Citation #T0400271 for the above mentioned offenses as well.

During booking, KEELAN refused to perform the breathalyzer. Photos of the empty and full liquor bottles in the vehicle were taken and will be attached to this report. Those same bottles will also be placed into evidence, along with the OUI documents.

Respectfully submitted,

Officer Ashley Catatao #299

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