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It’s Not Drunk Driving When Cops Do It

Here’s yet another example of a police officer — a retired one this time — driving drunk, causing an accident and then not even having a breathalyzer or blood alcohol test administered by the officers who found him parked in the middle of the street, having just hit a telephone poll, reeking of alcohol.

Newly obtained police reports show former state trooper Charles Noyes smelled of alcohol, could not maintain his balance, and had no memory of slamming his Cadillac Escalade into a utility pole in West Newbury March 30 before driving into Haverhill with his air bags deployed.

But Haverhill police did not arrest the 62-year-old highly decorated trooper or charge him with drunken driving after his mangled luxury SUV was found in the travel lane on Amesbury Line Road within minutes of the West Newbury accident — and Haverhill officials are still refusing to say why…

In their reports, The West Newbury officers said they found a utility pole had been snapped about eight inches off the ground and fell into two large pieces across Main Street and wires had been pulled from nearby houses. A pole with a caution yellow light about 15 feet beyond the utility pole had also been hit.

“The pole, which was mounted on a cast iron base and sunk into the ground, was broken off cleanly and landed in the roadway approximately 50 feet west of its original position,” Johnson wrote in his report.

Following a fresh line of “some sort of automotive fluid down Main Street” into Haverhill, the officers found a man in a white Escalade parked in the travel lane at the intersection of East Broadway and Amesbury Line Road, according to the police reports. Behind the wheel was Noyes, who retired in 2006 with the second-highest rank in the state police.

In his report, Cena said he detected a “strong odor of alcohol” on Noyes’ breath and that Noyes had “extreme difficulty maintaining his balance.” Cena said he asked Noyes why he didn’t stop after the accident in West Newbury.

“The male (Noyes) replied that he didn’t know that he had gotten into an accident despite the extensive front end damage of the vehicle,” Cena wrote.

And yet the Haverhill PD spokesman says there was no reason to administer a sobriety test. And I’m sure that would be true of anyone in such a situation who wasn’t a police officer, right? Not on your life.

Comments

  1. says

    Here on PEI a number of years ago, there was an incident involving two diffeent police forces. A member of the RCMP had just left the officer’s mess and less than a kilometre down the street, he struck and killed a univesity student walking on the side of teh street. The local Charlottetown police arrived on the scene, and managed to bungle the breathalyzer test so badly that the case was thrown out of court.

    The outcomes of the fiasco, besides the dead youth, were 1. the RCMP officer requested and was granted a transfer to another province and 2. the officer’s mess in the RCMP barracks was closed. At least something changed.

  2. Trebuchet says

    …having just hit a telephone poll…

    You’ve typed a homophone. I do that all the time and can’t understand it! “Hear” instead of “here”, etc.

    No reason to administer a sobriety test? Well, it was pretty obvious he was drunk, who needs a test?

  3. says

    peicurmudgeon “A member of the RCMP had just left the officer’s mess and less than a kilometre down the street, he struck and killed a univesity student walking on the side of teh street.”
    You’d figure that he/she would’ve heard, from a fair ways off, the “clop-clop” sound of the approaching horse.

  4. daved says

    You’ve typed a homophone. I do that all the time and can’t understand it! “Hear” instead of “here”, etc.

    I seem to recall from my college intro psych course that short-term memory is auditory rather than visual.

  5. steve oberski says

    @Marcus Ranum

    Or interference with a police officer in the performance of his duties.

  6. blutexan says

    In 2000 in Phoenix I bloodtested with mj residue, lost my license for a year and had to attend classes for six months. While there I learned from the instructor that no police officer of any type had attended classes in the over 20 years of that instructors experience. This article is no surprise to me.

  7. daved says

    If you read the newspaper article, the police officers from West Newbury, who were the first ones on the scene, reported that Noyes smelled of alcohol and couldn’t maintain his balance.

    However, the Haverhill police, who took over the scene because Noyes was actually found in Haverhill, said that Noyes didn’t smell of alcohol and wasn’t unsteady on his feet, and they’re claiming that the hospital didn’t report anything about Noyes being intoxicated either.

    So either the West Newbury cops were totally mistaken about Noyes being drunk, or the Haverhill police are stonewalling. And if he wasn’t drunk, how to explain the accident, the deployed airbags, and Noyes not knowing where he was or that he’d been in an accident? I could believe that, say, he had a stroke while driving, but that doesn’t explain the smell of alcohol.

    The case has been transferred to the DA of a different county; we’ll see what happens next, if anything.

  8. lorn says

    The culture of police is militarized and very much a bunker mentality. In such societies the view is that you are either ‘one of the good guys’, with us, or you are a ‘civilian’, possibly the enemy. Police place a high value on loyalty and a willingness to ‘have your back’, look after each other. Even if it means ‘civilians’ suffer and the law is ignored.

    Any officer violating the blue line, failing to protect a fellow officer, retired or active, often including an officer’s family, is likely to suffer. This could be just harsh words but shunning and physical violence are not out of the question. Pretty much every officer depends of brother officers for support and for them to come running if they need assistance. Alienate yourself from that group and the day may come when you call for help and nobody comes.

    This sort of culture is common to most any group who depend on each other while regularly exposed to physical danger. The military, police, fire services and security workers all have this sort of culture.

    Enforcement of rules in such a culture is always a balancing act.

  9. Brain Hertz says

    …having just hit a telephone poll…

    Is that what happens when you crash your car through the wall of a telemarketing office?

  10. tfkreference says

    Judging from the number of times in the report that the telephone pole was mentioned, it was clearly the pole’s fault.

  11. ragarth says

    Hey Ed, or anyone else interested,

    This is a mite off-topic, but I couldn’t find an email address to ask you via other means.

    I have a friend who might end up working for the Fairfax, Virginia PD, and I was wondering how someone goes about checking a police department to see if they have a history of bad behavior such as excessive brutality, cronyism, anti-gay attitude, etc?

  12. says

    wondering how someone goes about checking a police department to see if they have a history of bad behavior such as excessive brutality, cronyism, anti-gay attitude, etc?

    If they have uniforms.

  13. says

    I think it was the Mel Gibson character in The Patriot that stated, “What is worse one tyrant thousands of miles away or a thousand tyrants one mile away?” Seems appropriate to ask in light of this post…

  14. Stevarious says

    The quote is a mangled version of a statement attributed to British loyalist Daniel Bliss of Concord, Massachusetts.

    Original quote: “Better to live under one tyrant a thousand miles away, than a thousand tyrants one mile away.”

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