Real Life Somerville Police Stories: Cayce HARPER (OUI Liquor, Reckless Op of MV)

On Wednesday, 11/08/2018, I was working my assigned 4PM to 12AM shift in the West-6 cruiser with my partner Ofc. Mark Nevin. At approximately 11:30PM, when we were on our way to gas up the cruiser, we noticed that there was a call waiting in the CAD system for a motor vehicle accident at the corner of Broadway and Cedar Street, which are both public ways in Somerville. I told dispatch that we would head to that accident since it was on the way to the Department of Public Works gas pumps. The following is a summary of the events that followed: 

As we approached the scene, we noticed a gray Toyota (TN reg: xxxxx) leaking fluids. I asked dispatch to call the Fire Department to the scene. Ofc. Nevin and I then asked all involved parties if they were injured and if they wanted an ambulance. All parties refused. I then went over to speak to the operator/owner of the Toyota, Mr. Cayce Harper while Ofc. Nevin attended to the owner/operator of the BMW (MA. reg: xxxx), XXXX and the passenger of his vehicle, XXXX. When I approached the Toyota, I noticed that the drivers airbag had deployed so I asked Mr. Harper again if he wanted medical attention, to which he refused again.

I then directed Mr. Harper out of the middle of the street, over to the sidewalk. I asked him what happened and he said that he was on the phone and just ran into the BMW. I asked him how he did that and he said that he was not sure. I then asked him where he was coming from and he said from a game night at a friends house. When I asked him where he was headed, he said home. I then asked him where home was and he stuttered and did not have an answer. I then asked him for his license and he presented me with a Tennessee license. I asked him how long he had been in Massachusetts and he said since June or July. When I asked him where he lived, he pointed to his Toyota. While he was speaking to me, I could smell an odor of alcohol emanating from his breath. I then asked him if he had anything to drink tonight and he said that he has not drunk in 5 years. During the conversation, he seemed cold so I asked him if he had a jacket and in his car he would like to grab; he said yes so I walked him over to his Toyota to grab his jacket. While at the vehicle, I was at the passenger side and Ofc. Nevin was at the drivers side. Ofc. Nevin pointed out that there were a few empty Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cans by the driver pedals (see attached photos). When asked why those were there, Mr. Harper said he was not sure. During the conversation with Mr. Harper, he seemed very disoriented.

Cataldo ambulance arrived and did an assessment of Mr. Harper. They asked him his date of birth and name and he answered without slurred speech. However, when asked what year it was, Mr. Harper took quite some time to answer. Also, when asked if he knew where he was, Mr. Harper said that he was not sure, possibly somewhere in Boston. Cataldo then asked Mr. Harper if he wanted to go to the hospital and he said no. Ofc. Nevin asked Mr. Harper if he would take some standardized Field Sobriety Tests (FST) and Mr. Harper agreed. 

I then took Mr. Harper over to the sidewalk near 7-eleven to perform the standardized FSTs. I would respectively note that I am certified in standardized FSTs. The area where the tests were administered was a flat, paved sidewalk, free from defects. The sidewalk was dry. I again asked Mr. Harper if he needed medical attention, to which he said no. I then asked Mr. Harper if he felt that the sidewalk was a flat and even surface and he said yes.  The area was well lit. Prior to administering the tests, I asked Mr. Harper if he had any medical conditions that would prevent him from doing the FSTs, to which he answered no.

The first standardized FST that I conducted was the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test. Before beginning, I asked Mr. Harper if he wore glasses, had contacts in, or had any problems with his eyes or nerves. He said no. I then read the directions for the test from a card that I carry on my person. After each direction, I asked Mr. Harper if he understood the directions, to which he said yes. After all the directions were read, I asked him if he understood, to which he said yes. I then asked him if he needed me to repeat any of the directions, to which he said no. I did not observe resting Nystagmus in either eye.  During testing, Ofc. Nevin and I observed a lack of smooth pursuit in both the left and right eye. We also observed distinct and sustained Nystagmus at maximum deviation in both the left and the right eye. We also observed an onset of Nystagmus prior to 45 degrees in both the left and right eyes; the onset was apparent almost immediately as the eyes started moving. We also observed vertical gaze Nystagmus. It should also be noted that I had to instruct Mr. Harper multiple times during testing, not to move his head even though that instruction was given to him prior to testing and he said he understood.

The next test that I administered was the walk and turn test. Prior to conducting this test, I asked Mr. Harper if he was okay to walk or if he had any injuries that would prevent that. He stated that he had surgery on his left ankle in April of 2018 but that he was all cleared. I then asked him again if there was anything preventing him from doing the next two tests prior to beginning and he said no. For this test, we used the solid line between the concrete slabs on the sidewalk. I then read Mr. Harper the directions for the walk and turn test from a card that I carry on my person. After each direction, I asked Mr. Harper if he understood, to which he stated that he did. During the directions, I demonstrated the directions and again asked Mr. Harper if he understood, to which he said yes. Once I finished all of the directions, I asked Mr. Harper if he understood all of the directions and if he had any questions. Mr. Harper stated that he understood and that he did not have any questions. During the test, I noticed the following: (1) Mr. Harper restarted 3 times because he was unable to maintain his balance. On the first step, he continuously stepped off the line, missed his heel to toe, stopped walking and used his arm for balance; (2) During steps 1, 2, and 5, Mr. Harper stopped walking, stepped off the line, used his arms for balance, and missed his heel to toe; (3) During the second set of steps, Mr. Harper stepped off the line on step 4 and missed his heel to toe; (4) During a majority of the second set of steps, Mr. Harper used his arms for balance; (5) Mr. Harper took the incorrect number of steps on the second round of steps, taking 10 steps instead of the instructed 9 steps.

The next test performed was the one leg stand. Prior to the test, I again asked Mr. Harper if he had any issues that would prevent him from standing on one leg and he said no. I then again asked him if he was okay with doing it on the same spot on the sidewalk, to which he said yes. I then read the instructions off of a card that I carry on my person. After the instructions, I asked Mr. Harper if he understood the instructions. I then re-read the instructions but this time with demonstrations. I again asked Mr. Harper if he understood the instructions and if he had any questions. Mr. Harper stated that he understood and that he did not have any questions. My partner, Ofc. Nevin stood by with a timer. When I told Mr. Harper to begin, he tried to lift his right leg up but was stumbling. When I told him to restart, he got his leg up but was wobbly and never started counting. I then told him to restart a third time and he did the same thing: he got his leg up but never started counting. I then asked him if he remembered the instructions I gave him and he said yes. I told him that when he lifts his leg up, he needs to start counting “1001, 1002…” He stated that he understood. He tried to lift his leg a fourth time but was wobbly. Finally, on the 5th try, he got his leg almost up to 6 inches and started counting. While he was counting, he constantly used his arms to balance, swayed, and put his foot down. He got to 1005 in 6 seconds then put his foot down again and took a couple seconds to get it back up. At this point, I ended the test for his own safety. I felt that if he continued, he might have fallen over and injured himself.

During testing, Ofc. Nevin requested that Ofc. Devin Schneider come to the scene with his Portable Breathalyzer Testing (PBT) device. I should respectively note that Ofc. Schneider is certified in standardized FSTs and is a certified Drug Recognition Expert. While waiting, I again asked Mr. Harper if he had anything to drink tonight. Mr. Harper stated that he had not had anything to drink in 2 years. It should be noted that earlier, he stated that he had anything to drink in 5 years. When I brought up this discrepancy, Mr. Harper said that the last time he had anything to drink was probably about 2 years ago. I then asked him about his game night again. He said that he did not have anything to drink there and that it was in Cambridge, MA. I then asked him how he hit the car and he said that he was on his phone. When I asked what he was doing on his phone, he said he was on Bumbler. I asked him what Bumbler was because I was not familiar with it and he said that it was a dating website.

When Ofc. Schneider arrived, he gave Mr. Harper the instructions for the PBT and asked him if there was any reason why he could not perform correctly; Mr. Harper said no. The results of Mr. Harpers PBT was 0.285. Following the test, Ofc. Schneider asked Mr. Harper how much he had to drink and Mr. Harper said that he had not had anything to drink. Ofc. Schneider then asked Mr. Harper why he had a strong odor or alcohol coming from his breath and Mr. Harper stated that he did not know because he does not drink. 

A witness to the accident, XXXX, reported the following to Ofc. Paul Anderson:

The BMW was at a complete stop and the Toyota came from behind and slammed it at full speed.

I placed Mr. Harper under arrest, handcuffing him with his hands behind his back. I double locked the handcuffs for his safety. Ofc. Dylan Lambert conducted a search of Mr. Harper for weapons prior to transport. Mr. Harper was then transported back to the station in the prisoner transport unit 200, operated by Ofc. James Radochia. At the station, Mr. Harper was booked by Lt. Diogo deOliveira. Lt. deOliveira informed Mr. Harper of all his rights. Mr. Harper agreed to take a Blood Alcohol Test (BAT). The result of the BAT was 0.25% blood alcohol concentration, which is more than three times the legal limit of 0.08%. The original OUI documents were then placed into evidence in the usual manner.

I issued Mr. Harper a Massachusetts Uniform Citation (#T1228016) and charged him with:

– MGL c. 90 s. 24/J: Operating Under the Influence of Liquor

– MGL c.90 s.24/O: Negligent Operation

Mr. Harper’s Toyota was towed from the scene by Pat’s Towing in Medford. The entire front of the truck was damaged (see attached pictures). The car was not drivable. There was also damage all around, consistent with the year of the car. The front passenger air bag was also deployed. Lastly, the doors would not open. Mr. Harper stated that there was a specific way to open the doors but that was not needed because all people and animals were out of the car by the time we arrived on scene. The following is a list of inventory in Mr. Harpers vehicle: 

– Clothes and shoes

– Food

– Blankets

– Camping and hiking gear

– Trash

XXXX’s BMW was also towed from the scene by Pat’s Towing. There was damage to the rear of the car (see attached pictures). There was no inventory because XXXX had taken everything of value from the car. XXXX complained of pain to his right wrist, sustained from the accident but refused medical treatment. Ofc. Nevin encouraged him to seek a medical evaluation. Sgt. James Slattery then transported XXXX to the station to await a ride.

Mr. Harpers 2 dogs were in the enclosed truck bed at the time of the accident. When we arrived on scene, they were already out of the car. The dogs appeared to be uninjured and in good spirit. They were transported to Animal Control Kennel by Ofc. Paul Anderson and Sgt. James Slattery. Ofc. Nevin sent an email to Animal Control notifying them that the dogs were in the kennel.

I will be completing a crash report for this accident. 

Respectfully Submitted, 

Ofc. Priscilla Ribeiro #349

Somerville Police Department

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