Real Life Somerville Police Stories: Marcia STOKES (Negligent Op of MV, OUI Liquor, Open Container in MV)

The following is a summary of the facts:

On Sunday, November 25, 2018 I, Officer Dylan Lambert, was working my assigned 4 PM-12 AM shift in Ward 7. At approximately 6:30 PM Officer Nevin (West 6), Officer Chris Collette (Sector West), and I were dispatched to the area of 600 Mystic Valley Parkway for an erratic operator in a gray Toyota Corolla (MA xxxx).

At approximately 6:40 PM, Officer Nevin, Officer Chris Collette, and I arrived on location, and began searching the area. Officer Nevin and Officer Chris Collette located the vehicle traveling southbound on Boston Ave. Officer Nevin and Officer Chris Collette activated the blue lights on their cruisers and stopped the vehicle. I was at the corner of Mystic Valley Parkway and Boston Ave, and followed both officers, activating my blue lights as well.

Officer Nevin was the first responding officer to approach the vehicle, Officer Chris Collette, and I followed. Officer Nevin informed me that when the operator had pulled over she had hit the curb with her right front tire. When I asked the operator, later identified as Mrs. Marcia Stokes, for her license and registration, she had consistently became distracted, and had difficulty locating the registration to the vehicle. When speaking with Mrs. Stokes, her speech appeared to be slurred, her eyes were glassy, and blood shot. When Mrs. Stokes was speaking with me I detected a slight odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from her person. When I asked Mrs. Stokes if the car belonged to her and if she drove it frequently she said yes to both questions. I told Mrs. Stokes that the car came back to a XXXX; the operator confirmed that the owner was her husband.

When I asked Mrs. Stokes where she was driving to and from she stated that she was visiting her son who lived in the area. When I restated what she said to me, Mrs. Stokes said that she was coming from Orleans, MA from visiting her Mother. Mrs. Stokes’ account of where she was coming from and going conflicted with what she had initially told me. Mrs. Stokes’ also stated that she had hit the curb when she was driving because she was looking at her phone for directions.

I asked Mrs. Stokes how many alcoholic beverages she had drank today. Mrs. Stokes said that she did not drink any alcohol today. Concerned by Mrs. Stokes’ confused demeanor, her slurred speech, glassy, blood shot eyes, along with the odor of an alcoholic beverage emanating from her person, I told Mrs. Stokes to turn off the vehicle and exit to participate in a roadside assessment.

When Mrs. Stokes exited the vehicle I stood in the street to ensure she did not walk into the street. I told Mrs. Stokes to walk to the sidewalk, where it was safe, and had better lighting. Mrs. Stokes stumbled and had difficulty maintaining her balance, stumbled, but was able to get to the sidewalk. I asked Mrs. Stokes if she was able to complete the roadside assessment, which would consist of activities that would require balance and coordination. I asked Mrs. Stokes if she was on any medication, had any medical conditions, or any injuries that would make her unable to participate in the assessment. Mrs. Stokes informed me that she did not take any medication and there were not any medical conditions that would render her unable to participate in the roadside assessment. Mrs. Stokes stated that she would be able to complete the assessment. I asked Mrs. Stokes if she wore glasses or contacts, which she stated she was wearing her contacts.

I would like to note that I am certified in Field Sobriety Testing (FST). I read the series of instructions for each test of the FST from a card I had on my person. The first standardized FST I conducted was the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test. Again, I asked Mrs. Stokes if there were any medical conditions that would make her unable to participate in the testing, to which she stated no. I told Mrs. Stokes to face me, putting her back to the blue lights of the cruisers. Officer Nevin assisted in providing lighting so that I could observe Mrs. Stokes’ eyes, but did so without effecting her ability to see or concentrate on the stimulus (my pen). After each direction I read to Mrs. Stokes I asked her if she understood, to which she stated yes.

During testing, I noticed a lack of smooth pursuit in both Mrs. Stokes’ left and right eye. I noticed distinct and sustained Nystagmus at maximum deviation. I observed onset of Nystagmus prior to 45 degrees. I was unable to determine whether or not vertical gas Nystagmus was present. It should be noted that Mrs. Stokes failed to keep her head still and follow my pen with her eyes only during all stages of the test, even though she was instructed to keep her head still.

The next standardized test I administered was the Walk and Turn test. For this test Officer Collette blocked off the lane Mrs. Stokes’ car was in so that she could walk on the solid white line parallel to the sidewalk in a safe manner. The road was fairly dry and well-lit. Officer Nevin stood behind Mrs. Stokes to ensure she did not fall. Using my flashlight, I indicated to Mrs. Stokes where the white line was that she would be using for this next test. Again, I asked Mrs. Stokes if there were any injuries or medical conditions that would prevent her from walking for the next test, to which she stated no. I read the instructions for the Walk and Turn test from the card on my person and asked Mrs. Stokes’ if she understood the directions, to which she said yes. I then demonstrated the steps for Mrs. Stokes and asked her again if she understood and she stated yes. Mrs. Stokes had to restart once because she had started the test before I had instructed her to do so. Mrs. Stokes had to restart once because she did not count each step as instructed. Mrs. Stokes walked nine steps forward, turned around, and walked nine steps back, but failed to do so heel-to-toe as instructed. Mrs. Stokes had to restart another time because she had lost her balance and used her arms to balance herself within taking the first step.

The next test I conducted was the One Leg Stand test. Before starting the test I asked Mrs. Stokes if she had any injuries or medical conditions that prevented her from standing on one leg. Mrs. Stokes informed me that she had broken one of her legs years ago. I asked Mrs. Stokes if this prior injury would prevent her from balancing on one leg, to which Mrs. Stokes said it would not. I read the instructions for the test from the card I had on my person and asked Mrs. Stokes if she understood, which she stated she did. I demonstrated the test and explained that Mrs. Stokes would need to lift one leg up, balance on the other leg, look at the leg she had lifted, and count 1001, 1002, and so on. Again, I asked Mrs. Stokes if she understood the instructions and she confirmed she understood the directions for the test. While Mrs. Stokes was counting and balancing on one foot, she kept her balance for approximately three seconds and began to lose her balance. Mrs. Stokes attempted to balance on the right foot a second time, but was unable to maintain her balance. I asked Mrs. Stokes to try to balance on one leg again and count, but immediately lost her balance, began using her arms to balance herself, and began to sway. I told Mrs. Stokes to balance on her left foot, but immediately lost her balance, began to sway, and used her arms to regain balance. At this point, Mrs. Stokes almost fell over if it were not for Officer Nevin being behind her to stop her from doing so. Considering Mrs. Stokes’ inability to maintain her balance and having almost fallen over, I stopped the One Leg Stand test for Mrs. Stokes’ safety.

After observing Mrs. Stokes’ demeanor and how she performed on the FST, I placed Mrs. Stokes under arrest. I handcuffed Mrs. Stokes behind her back, checked for proper fit, and asked Mrs. Stokes if the handcuffs were comfortable. Mrs. Stokes stated the handcuffs were comfortable. I then double-locked the handcuffs for Mrs. Stokes’ comfort. It should be noted that both Mystic Valley Parkway and Boston Ave are public ways as defined by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

A witness, later identified as XXXX, stated that she observed Mrs. Stokes traveling eastbound on Mystic Valley Parkway in the right-most lane, stop in the middle of the road, and (there were not any traffic control signs/lights present) caused multiple vehicles to stop short and swerve around the vehicle Mrs. Stokes was operating. XXXX said that the vehicle Mrs. Stokes was operating struck the curb in her lane approximately five times. Finally, XXXX said that Mrs. Stokes had entered into a U-Haul parking lot suddenly, but then left the lot almost immediately.
The vehicle Mrs. Stokes was operating was towed by Pat’s Towing Company. An inventory was conducted by Officer Nevin and myself, which yielded an open cup in the middle console cup holder, which smelled like Ginger Ale and a faint odor of alcohol. I found an open bottle of Absolut Citrus Vodka with a substance that smelled, like alcohol inside the bottle. The bottle was found in the passenger seat within reach of the operator. The bottle was concealed by a brown paper bag. The bottle was seized as evidence.

Mrs. Stokes was searched by myself for any dangerous weapons or items that may harm Mrs. Stokes or myself. No weapons were found on Mrs. Stokes. Mrs. Stokes was transported by Officer Thomas Lambert in the Prisoner Transport Wagon to the station for booking. Mrs. Stokes agreed to take the Blood Alcohol Test (BAT) at the station, which resulted in Mrs. Stokes having a blood alcohol concentration of .19%, which is over double the legal limit of .08%.

I issued Mrs. Stokes a Massachusetts Uniform Citation (#T1315985) for the following and placed it in her property bag:

90/24 Negligent Operation of an MV
90/24 OUI Liquor MV
90/24I Open Container Alcohol MV

Respectfully Submitted,
Officer Dylan Lambert #351
Somerville Police Department

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