Real Life Somerville Police Stories: Stephen LARUE (OUI Liquor, Negligent Operation)

On Saturday, May 29, 2021, I, Officer Justin Buswell was in full-uniform and worked my assigned 8am-4pm shift in marked Somerville Police Cruiser West-5.

At approximately 1:14pm, I was dispatched to 143 Cedar Street for a single vehicle crash. (CAD# 21027021) Somerville Control advised me that a vehicle crashed into a wall and fence. Sgt. Difava (S8) and Officer Ubeda (T1) later responded to assist. Please see Officer Ubeda’s crash report for further details of the motor vehicle crash.

It should be noted that Cedar Street is a public way as defined by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Upon arrival, my attention was immediately drawn to MA REG#XXXX, a grey 2007 Ford Explorer. The vehicle had crashed into a metal fence that surrounded the front yard of one of the apartments of 143 Cedar Street. Approximately 75% of the vehicle was in the yard while approximately 25% was still on the side walk. The vehicle was unoccupied but standing right next to the vehicle was the registered owner, a Stephen LARUE. I parked my cruiser behind the vehicle on the corner of Cedar Street and Albion Street to block off the lane of traffic for Somerville Fire Department which was arriving on scene at the same time. As I was walking up to the scene LARUE was standing next to front of the car smoking a cigarette that was all the way down to the butt. LARUE was unsteady on his feet and swaying back and forth.

I asked LARUE if he was driving. LARUE told me that he was driving the vehicle. I asked LARUE what had happened that caused him to crash his vehicle into the fence. LARUE told me that while he was driving he reached over to grab his cell phone and he lost control of the vehicle resulting in him crashing into the metal fence. I had LARUE move from the front of the vehicle to behind the vehicle to allow Somerville Fire Department personnel to ensure the vehicle was safe. While LARUE was walking from the front of the vehicle to the back I observed LARUE to be unsteady on his feet, having a difficult time walking in a straight line, and staggering as he walked. While speaking to LARUE I could smell a moderate level of alcoholic beverage emanating from his breath through my face covering that I wear due to COVID-19 precautions. I also observed LARUE eyes to be bloodshot and glassy. I asked LARUE where he was coming from. LARUE told me a friend’s houses were he was playing video games all morning. LARUE continued to sway back and forth becoming increasingly unsteady on his feet.

After Somerville Fire determined the car was safe in its current position I had LARUE lean up against the back of the car as I was concerned that he may fall over and injure himself. I asked LARUE if he had taken any drugs or had any alcoholic beverages to drink today. LARUE told me that he had two beers while over his friend’s house. Due to my observations and LARUE’s current state I asked LARUE if he was sure that he only had two beers. LAURE told me that ok it was more than two and that he was drunk.

It was around that time that Cataldo EMS arrived on-scene. I told LARUE to stay leaning against the car and hold tight for a minute but LARUE turned around and placed his hands behind his back as if expecting to be placed in handcuffs. I told LARUE to turn around as Cataldo EMS was going to medically evaluate him. Cataldo EMS took over the medical care of LARUE at this point to assess him medically to determine if he was injured. LARUE could not step up into the ambulance without the help of Cataldo EMTs as he was so unsteady on his feet and could not keep his balance. After being medically checked out by Cataldo EMTs LARUE signed a medical refusal form. LARUE then exited the ambulance and required the assistance of Cataldo EMTs to be able to climb out of the ambulance safely. Cataldo EMTs needed to hold LARUEs hands to be able to keep him steady while he stepped down out of the ambulance. LARUE missed the step of the ambulance multiple times and would have fallen out of the ambulance if not for Cataldo EMTs holding him up.

Once out of the ambulance and turned over to my custody I asked LARUE if he would consent to a series of Field Sobriety Tests. LARUE told me that he cant take the test because he would fail if he took the tests. I again asked LARUE if he would consent to a series of Field Sobriety Tests. LARUE told me that he shouldnt because he would fail. It was at this time that I told LARUE to turn around and place his hands behind his back. LARURE was handcuffed, double locked, and checked for proper tightness behind his back.

Based on the above stated facts, I placed Stephen LARUE under arrest for the following violations of Massachusetts General Law:
-Ch. 90/S. 24: Operating Under the Influence of Liquor
-Ch. 90/S. 24: Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle

Due to it being extremely cold and raining out I placed LARUE in the backseat of my cruiser to keep him out of the elements while we awaited transport. I read LARUE his Miranda Warnings from a pre-printed card that I keep on my person. LARUE sated that he understood his Miranda Warnings and was willing to talk to me. I asked LARUE how much he had really had to drink today. LARUE stated to me “a liter of whiskey.”

LARUE was transported to the station by Officer M. Canty who was operating the Mobile Detention Unit 200. Booking for LARUE was delayed due to being transported to Cambridge Hospital for evaluation. Once at the station LARUE was booked in the usual manner by Lt. Holland. LARUE agreed to a breath test with was conducted at 4:44pm by Officer R. Taylor (SM1). The results of the breath test showed the LARUE had a current blood alcohol content of .23% almost three times the legal limit of .08%. This breath test was conducted approximately three and a half hours after the incident was reported.

LARUE was issued Massachusetts Uniform Citation T1830133 for the above mentioned charges. The MA Uniform Citation was placed into LARUE’s prisoner property bag.

The OUI documents have been placed into evidence in the usual manner and also attached electronically to this report.

Respectfully submitted,

Officer Justin Buswell #344.

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