Real Life Somerville Police Stories: Nihad RUSTOM (OUI Liquor, Negligent MV OP)

On Sunday, October 14, 2018, I was assigned to marked unit East-4 and on routine patrol. At approximately 7:43 PM, I was dispatched to Broadway and Main Street for a report of a motor vehicle accident. Dispatch informed me that witnesses on the scene believed one operator may be intoxicated. Officers Fusco (East-3) Nevin, D. Lambert (West-6) Schneider and Ribeiro (East-1) responded as well.

Upon arrival, I spoke with the operator of MA registration xxxxx, a 2016 Toyota Camry, identified as Mr. Nihad Rustom. The vehicle in question was off to the side of the road west of the intersection of Broadway and Main Street. I noticed heavy front end damage to the bumper. I also noticed a half empty can of beer outside of the driver door, and a strong odor of alcohol coming from inside the vehicle. Officer Fusco noticed that the driver’s side seat and floor were wet with what smelt like alcoholic beverage. The passenger who was later identified as XXXX appeared heavily intoxicated. I asked Mr. Rustom what had happened prior to police arrival, and if he was in need of medical service. He said he was not hurt and stated the following: He was parked at the corner of Broadway and Main Street and attempted to turn out onto Broadway to continue westbound, when a vehicle came out of nowhere and turned into him. I clarified that he was parked, to which he responded, “yes” and point to the side of the road where a police vehicle was positioned right near the corner and said, “just like that police car.” I could smell a strong odor of alcohol emanating from Mr. Rustom’s breath, and noticed he had glassy eyes. I asked him if he had anything to drink this evening to which he responded, “no.” I asked him if he had taken any other medications, but he also responded he had not. As he was continuing to speak with me, I noticed he was slow and sluggish while moving, and spoke very slowly. Officer Fusco stood by with Mr. Rustom while I went and spoke to the other involved party.

The other vehicle involved was MA registration xxxx, a 2007 Honda Civic, operated by a XXXX. Once I determined there were no injuries, I asked XXXX what had happened prior to police arrival. He stated he was driving Eastbound on Broadway approaching Main Street. He indicated he had the green turn arrow, and was attempting to turn from Broadway left onto Main Street. XXXX said that as he was turning, he noticed the other car (he pointed to the Toyota) abruptly enter traffic and attempt to proceed Westbound on Broadway through the red light. The Toyota stuck XXXX’s car and caused damage along the entire passenger side of the vehicle. Officer Fusco was able to do an information exchange in order to allow XXXX to leave for the evening. I spoke with a XXXX who stated she saw the entire incident. She said, “he blew through the red light”, and corroborated XXXX’s story of what occurred.

I turned my attention back to Mr. Rustom and asked him to do a series of field sobriety tests to determine if he would be able to safely operate a vehicle. Mr. Rustom agreed to perform the tests. I noticed he had glasses, and asked him to remove them for the test. He told me they were only for reading, and he could see fine. It also should be noted he does not have a corrective lens restriction on his license. I then asked him if he was comfortable, or he had any pre-existing medical conditions. He stated that he xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx’.   I would like to note Mr. Rustom was wearing a sweatshirt with a scarf, and the temperature was approximately 57 degrees. It should also be noted that when asked by other officers on the street and at the station if he had any medical conditions, he continually changed his story. I utilized a well-lit, flat dry piece of sidewalk for the tests, and turned all the cruiser blue and flashing lights off so as there were minimal distractions. I read instructions to each test from a Standard Field Sobriety Test (SFST) card that I keep on my person. The tests were administered in this order, and the results as follow:

HORIZONTAL GAZE NYSTAGMUS (HGN)

Using my SFST card that I keep on my person, I read Mr. Rustom instructions for the HGN testing.  Mr. Rustom acknowledged that he understood the instructions that I had read to him. I checked for resting Nystagmus and that his eyes were equally tracking. I noticed his eyes appeared to twitch at first, but then remained still after further observation. Next I checked for lack of smooth pursuit, which I noticed in both the left and right eye, indicating two clues of impairment. I then checked for distinct and sustained Nystagmus at maximum deviation. I also noticed this in both the left and right eye, indicating two more clues of impairment. Last I check for the onset of Nystagmus prior to forty five degrees. Mr. Rustom did not present with this in a sustained manner. It should be noted that Mr. Rustom initially followed with his head, and had to be reminded of the instructions.

WALK AND TURN

The test was administered using the straight line that divides sections of concrete on the sidewalk. Using my SFST card that I keep on my person, I read Mr. Rustom instructions for the walk and turn. After demonstrating the walk and turn test, I asked Mr. Rustom if he understood the instructions to which he responded “yes.” When I asked him to begin, he kept saying, “I’m cold so, I will do the best I can.” I had to ask him to begin several times before he did. Mr. Rustom could not keep his balance during the instruction phase, and kept using his arms for balance. He took 7 steps without counting out loud, looking at his feet, or keeping his arms at his sides. He then stopped walking. I asked him if he remembered the instructions I gave him, and he said, “yes.” When asked why he stopped, he stated, “you told me to take 9 steps.” I read the instructions once more, and allowed him to attempt the test again. Mr. Rustom kept inquiring as to why we were doing this, and stating he was cold and had xxxxxxx. I told him to do the best he could. On his second attempt, he used his arms for balance, stepped off the line 3 times on the first nine steps, miscounted step 7, and stopped after 9 steps. I asked him again what he was supposed to do, and he said “take nine steps back.” Mr. Rustom made an improper turn, missed heal-to-toe on several steps (greater than 1/2″ gap), and stepped off the line several times. In addition, he used his arms for balance off-and-on throughout the returning steps.

ONE LEG STAND

Using my SFST card that I keep on my person, I read Mr. Rustom instructions for the one leg stand. After demonstrating the one leg stand test, I asked Mr. Rustom if he understood the instructions to which he responded “yes.”  During the test I noticed that Mr. Rustom immediately used his arms for balance, and put his foot down 3 times within the first 7 seconds. He then stopped and looked at me. I asked him if he remembered the instructions, and he said, “you told me to count to 9.” I re-read him the instructions and allowed him to attempt the test again. Mr. Rustom could not keep his balance, put his foot down several times, and eventually stopped before the allotted time was up.

Officer Schneider whom has received advanced training in drug and alcohol impairment was on scene with a portable breath test (PBT) machine. Mr. Rustom agreed to take the PBT, but after 5 attempts, would not follow instructions on how to properly provide a breath sample. This PBT can detect ambient alcohol in the air around an individual however, and when held up to Mr. Rustom’s mouth while he was talking, came back with a reading of “ALCOHOL”, indicating alcohol in the air.

Based on my training and experience and the results of the above stated tests, I placed Mr. Rustom under arrest for the following charges:

– MGL c90 S24 OUI Liquor

– MGL c90 S24 Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle

– MGL c89 S9 Red light

Mr. Rustom was transported to the Somerville Police Station in marked prisoner transport vehicle 200, operated by Officer Buswell. He was booked by the shift commander, Lieutenant Rymill. Mr. Rustom elected to take the breathalyzer test at the station. The resulting blood alcohol content was .09%. All the OUI and breathalyzer paperwork will be digitally attached to this report, as well as tagged into evidence. I issued Mr. Rustom MA Uniform Citation T1230154 for the above related offenses. The citation was placed within his property. The vehicle was towed from the scene in accordance with Melanie’s Law as authorized by the street supervisor, Sergeant McCarey (S-8).

Respectfully submitted,

Officer Kevin Goulart #326

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