Real Life Somerville Police Stories: Hinmer RODRIGUEZ (Negligent MV Op, Op MV w/License Susp for OUI, OUI Liquor 3rd Offense)

On Saturday, 12/8/2018, I (Officer Devin Schneider) was in full uniform while assigned to marked cruiser West-7 during the 4pm-12am shift. The following report is a summary of the events that I witnessed that day, as they pertain to incident #18072376:

At around 5:55pm, I was on patrol in the area of Alewife Brook Parkway and the City Dilboy Pool. Alewife Brook Parkway is a public way in the City of Somerville. The weather was clear, the temperature was approximately 26 degrees Fahrenheit, and the sun had completely set. It was at this time that I heard a loud noise, as though metal was grinding on pavement. The source of the noise was coming from a black Ford F150 (MA registration xxxx), travelling southbound on Alewife Brook Parkway. As the Ford passed me, I observed that the front passenger side tire was completely flat, and the truck was riding on the metal rim.

I initiated a motor vehicle stop for the defective equipment using my cruiser’s blue lights, and the vehicle immediately stopped in the right lane of the two lane highway, opposite of 309 Alewife Brook Parkway. As I began to radio my status to Somerville dispatchers, the operator, later identified as Hinmer Rodriguez, exited his vehicle into the busy lane of traffic. At the time of the stop, traffic on Alewife Brook Parkway was moderate to heavy, with cars driving by at speeds of up to 35 mph. Rodriguez, who appeared unsteady on his feet, smiled at me and shrugged, gesturing at the truck. Rodriguez then walked towards my cruiser and into traffic. Due to the unsafe situation, I exited my cruiser and ordered Rodriguez back into his vehicle. Rodriguez complied.

I approached Rodriguez and explained the reason for the stop, then demanded his license and registration. He was very slow to comply, as though deliberately stalling for time. His movements were slow and deliberate. I observed that Rodriguez’s eyes were bloodshot and glassy, and when he spoke I could detect the moderate odor of alcoholic beverage emanating from his breath. I returned to my cruiser where I queried his license status on my cruiser’s laptop. The CJISWeb application revealed that Rodriguez’s license status was suspended for a prior offense of operating under the influence of liquor.

Officer Chris Fusco (West-5) arrived on scene a short time later to provide back-up. Rodriguez consented to participate in a series of field sobriety tests. I would respectfully 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 tests were conducted was on a flat sidewalk, clear from any apparent defects, well lit by the cruiser’s “scene” lights, officer’s flashlights, and separated from traffic by a wooden rail. Prior to administering any of the tests I asked Rodriguez if he wore glasses or contacts and he stated no. Rodriguez was wearing tan work boots and I asked if he was comfortable conducting the tests in the boots, to which he said he was. I asked Rodriguez if he had any medical conditions or physical defects that might prevent him from taking the tests, and he stated that he had xxxxxx. I explained and demonstrated each of the tests, and asked Rodriguez if he understood each test that he conducted, to which he said yes. Rodriguez had no resting Nystagmus, his eyes were equalling tracking, and his 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 distinct and sustained Nystagmus at maximum deviation in both the left and right eyes.
I observed Nystagmus prior to 45 degrees both the left eye and right eyes.

Lack of Convergence
I observed lack of convergence 2 times in both eyes, as my finger came to a rest about 2″ from the bridge of his nose.

Walk and Turn
The line used for this assessment was an imaginary line, with Officer Fusco standing at one end for a point of reference. I instructed Rodriguez to assume the starting position, by putting his left foot on the line and touching the heel of his right foot to the toe of his left foot, then to stay at that position until told to start. Rodriguez could not follow these instructions, and on three separate occasions began walking despite being told not to. Starting the test too soon is a validated clue of impairment. When Rodriguez did assume the correct starting position, he was unable to maintain the position and lost his balance. Losing your balance during the instructional phase is a validated clue of impairment. During the test, every step was offline, he stopped walking 4 times, he raised his arms 5 times, and after 12 steps, he stopped and did not turn or do a return set of steps. Rodriguez did not miss his heel to toe on any of the steps. Rodriguez exhibited 7 of the 8 validated clues of impairment during the walk and turn. Additionally, he did not count a single step out loud as instructed, despite the fact that I was reminded him 3 times during the test.

I gave Rodriguez the instructions for the one leg stand, demonstrated the test, and asked him if he understood. Rodriguez stated that he did not understand, so I gave him the instructions to the test a second time and asked him if he understood. Rodriguez stated that he understood. When I told him to begin the test, Rodriguez did not move. I asked Rodriguez why he was not conducting the tests, and he stated that it was too cold. I asked Rodriguez if he was refusing to do the test, and he stated yes.

I asked Rodriguez to blow into a Portable Breathalyzer Test (PBT) device (Drager Alcotest 6820 Serial #ARHB-0364), to which he complied. The PBT indicated that Rodriguez had a blood alcohol content level of 0.154. At this point I placed Rodriguez under arrest, handcuffing him in a manner consistent with my training (double locked and checked for tightness.) Rodriguez was transported back to the Somerville Police Station in prisoner transport unit 200, operated by Officer Joe Rivera. At the station, he was booked in the usual manner by Lt. Jeffrey Digregorio, where he was informed of his applicable rights.

Sergeant Rico Isidoro authorized a tow of the Ford F-150, and a 12 hour hold was put on the vehicle pursuant to Melanie’s law. During an inventory of the vehicle, I located an empty 6 oz can of Modelo beer behind the driver’s seat. A picture of the can was taken and will be preserved digitally, attached to this report. The can was seized and will be entered into evidence in the usual manner.

Rodriguez consented to a blood alcohol test (BAT) and performed the test at the station with BAT operator Roger Desrochers. The BAT machine indicated that Rodriguez had a blood alcohol content of 0.14.

I will be charging Hinmer Rodriguez with the following violations of M.A. General Law:
-Ch. 90 / S. 23 License Suspended of OUI, Operate a M.V. with
-Ch. 90 / S. 24 Negligent Operation of Motor Vehicle
-Ch. 90 / S. 24 OUI Liquor, 3rd Offense.

I issued Rodriguez a M.A. Uniform citation for the above referenced charges. Rodriguez was issued a verbal warning for the defective equipment violation.

Respectfully submitted,

Officer Devin Schneider
Badge #295

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