Real Life Somerville Police Stories: Jennifer LEWIS (OUI Drugs 3rd Offense, Negligent MV Op)

On 8/29/2018, I (Officer Devin Schneider) was in full uniform while assigned to marked unit East-1 during the day 8am-4pm shift. At approximately 2:35pm I responded to a report of a motor vehicle accident at 5x Pearl Street. Upon arriving I met with the two persons involved in the accident; Jennifer Lewis, XXXX, and a witness to the accident; XXXX. Lewis and XXXX were outside their vehicles, exchanging information. I first spoke to XXXX and learned the following:

XXXX was standing on his front porch, located at 5x Pearl Street, when he observed Lewis, who was parked in a Red Ford Mustang (MA registration xxxx) in front of his house. Lewis appeared to be on her phone facing eastward at the time, when she started her vehicle and attempted to perform a three point turn. Lewis pulled forward and collided head first into XXXX ‘s vehicle (Toyota Camry, MA registration xxxx,) which was parked on the opposite side of the street facing westward. XXXX yelled for Lewis to stop and chased after her as she appeared to be trying to flee the area westward. Lewis then swerved into the opposite lane of traffic, colliding with taxi travelling the opposite direction (Ford Fusion, MA registration xxxx) operated by XXXX.

I spoke with XXXX, who stated that he was travelling westbound, when the Ford Mustang travelling the opposite direction swerved into his lane of traffic and collided with him. XXXX had a passenger in the back seat who’s information I was unable to acquire before he left, when I realized this would become a criminal matter.

I then spoke with Lewis. Lewis stated that she was on the phone at the time of the collision and was distracted. I observed that Lewis had slurred speech, and was slow to react to my questioning. I did NOT smell the odor of alcohol. Lewis’s eyes were bloodshot. I asked Lewis if she was injured, had any medical conditions, or was on any medications, and she stated no to all of the above.

After speaking with Lewis for a few minutes, I realized that I recognized her from a previous car accident about two weeks ago (8/17/2018, incident #18049053) where she had struck another motor vehicle. I also recalled that I was contacted by Officer Teves shortly after the accident on the 17th, because he had pulled her over on Washington Street for operating in the wrong lane of traffic (Incident #18049058.) When I asked Lewis if she recalled either of the incidents, she adamantly stated that she had not been involved either of those incidents and I was confusing her with someone else. A brief query of our in-house records showed that it was in fact Lewis who was involved in the accident and motor vehicle stop on the 17th. I contacted Officer Teves, who arrived on scene a short time later and confirmed her identity.

I asked Lewis to perform some field sobriety assessments, and she consented. I would note that I am certified in Field Sobriety Testing, Advanced Roadside Impairment Detection Enforcement, and I am a certified Drug Recognition Expert (DRE #29733.)

The area where the assessments were administered was on a flat paved sidewalk, free from any apparent defects, and well-lit by daylight. Prior to administering any of the assessments I asked Lewis again if she had any medical impairment or physical limitations that would prevent her from taking the assessments, and she stated no. I asked Lewis if she took any medications, and she stated NO. I asked Lewis if she wore contacts or glasses and she stated she wore reading glasses. I explained and demonstrated each of the assessments, and asked if Lewis if she understood the assessments. Lewis indicated she understood each of the assessments. Lewis was wearing white flat shoes, and stated she could not do the tests in them. I asked her if she wanted to remove the shoes to be more comfortable, which she did. Lewis had no resting Nystagmus, and her pupils were equal in size.

Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus

I used my finger as a stimulus from the eye tests. I observed lack of smooth pursuit in both the left and right eyes. I observed NO distinct and sustained Nystagmus at maximum deviation in both the left and right eyes. I observed NO Nystagmus prior to 45 degrees either the left eye and right eyes.

Vertical Gaze Nystagmus

I observed NO vertical gaze Nystagmus.

Lack of Convergence

Lewis’s eyes converged on the stimulus as it came within 2″ if the bridge of her nose, then swung out in the opposite directions. This is what is known as lack of convergence.

Pupil Size

I measured Lewis’s pupils to be 2 mm in diameter in direct light, which is outside the normal range for DRE purposes and is considered constricted.

Walk and Turn

The line used for this assessment was the line that bisects the concrete slabs along the sidewalk. I instructed Lewis to assume the starting position, by putting her left foot on the line and touching her right foot to her lift foot, then to stay at that position until told to start. Lewis was unable to maintain the starting position for more than a second, continuously stumbling. Lewis then stated that she had just had surgery for a pinched nerve on her neck, and that was the reason she could not stand in the starting position. I asked her why she had not disclosed this the multiple times I had asked her about her medical conditions, and she was unable to answer. Lewis began her first 9 steps, and was unable to walk in a straight line, unable to touch her heel to her toe, walked 12 steps without counting, despite being told to count her steps out loud, stumbled multiple times, was unable to keep her arms by her side, and did not turn as instructed (pivot turn.) On the return 9 steps, she did the same as above, only she counted 11 steps, instead of the instructed 9.

One Leg Stand

I used my wrist watch to time the one leg stand. After explaining and demonstrating the assessment, Lewis indicated that she understood what she had to do. Lewis stated that she had a metal rod in her spine and would have difficulty performing the assessment. I asked Lewis why she had not disclosed this medical condition, and she could not answer. After telling Lewis to begin, she counted “one thousand one” three times, before moving on to “one thousand two.” At the count of “one thousand five,” she dropped her foot. Lewis then dropped her foot after every second counted until 12, when she stumbled and almost fell over. At this point I stopped the assessment for safety purposes.

Modified Rhomberg Balance Test

I instructed Lewis to stand with her feet together, arms by her side, tilt her head back, close her eyes, then estimate the passage of 30 seconds. I used my wrist watch to keep track of time. While conducting the assessment, I observed that Lewis had involuntary eye tremors, and a noticeable sway of 2 inches side to side and forward to back. After 24 seconds had elapsed, Lewis opened her eyes and said stop.

I formed the opinion that Lewis was operating her vehicle under the influence of drugs, and placed her under arrest. Lewis was handcuffed in a manner consistent with my training, double locked and checked for tightness. Lewis asked me to procure her handbag for her so she could take it back to the station. A search of the handbag revealed 4 pill bottles. 3 of the pill bottles had her name on the outside (empty Oxycontin 20 mg, empty Oxycodone 15 mg, Methadone HCL 10 mg with 2 pills.) One of the pill bottles had the name XXXX outside the bottle, who she stated was her husband, (Clonazepam 0.5 mg, 34 pills.) Officer Eddie Soares transported Lewis back to the station in prisoner transport unit 200, where she was booked in the usual manner by the Commanding Officer: Lt. Jeff DiGregorio. Lewis was offered a drug evaluation by DRE Officer Chris Fusco, and refused. A query of Lewis’s Board of Probation record indicated that she had 2 SEALED guilty charges for Operating Under the Influence of Liquor (Somerville district court docket #9110CR924A, and Woburn District court docket #9653CR1688A.)

Lewis is being charged with the following violations of M.A. General Law:

Ch. 90 / S. 24 – Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle

Ch. 90 / S. 24(1)(a)(1) – Operating Under the Influence of Drugs, 3rd Offense (Narcotic Analgesics)

Officer Teves stayed with the vehicle while it was towed by Pat’s tow yards, as it was parked over a foot from the curb and creating a hazard. Lewis was issued MA Uniform Citation #T1229747. Photos of the pill bottles will be attached to this report.

Respectfully submitted,

Officer Devin Schneider

Badge #295

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