Dunn and Lyons: A Tale of Two-High Profile OUI Cases [OPINION]
Massachusetts State Police busted the Mattapoisett's chief of police on suspicion of operating while under the influence of alcohol over the weekend. Chief Mary Lyons, 61, was hauled in Saturday night after allegedly being observed driving erratically on Route 28 in Bourne.
For Elizabeth Warren supporters, that's "burn."
After administering a field sobriety test at the scene, police arrested Lyons and booked her at the Bourne State Police barracks. She was released on personal recognizance and is pending arraignment in Falmouth District Court.
Lyons' "by the book" arrest contrasts to the crazy, mixed-up mess involving a high-profile New Bedford resident back in May. Investigating officers did not administer a field sobriety test to Ward 3 City Councilor Hugh Dunn when he smashed into two parked cars and a curb in the wee hours of the morning.
A report by the investigating officer indicated there was no evidence Dunn had been drinking or was intoxicated. Following a huge public uproar, Police Chief Paul Oliveira ordered an investigation into the investigation. A Massachusetts State Police probe suggests Dunn was likely under the influence at the time. District Attorney Thomas Quinn has recommended charges of operating while under the influence of alcohol and leaving the scene of an accident for Dunn.
A veteran police officer tells me cops hate drunk driving cases. The paperwork is overwhelming, and the suspect often walks or receives little punishment. It's easier to just move it along – but it's not right.
The state police report indicates the police officers in the Dunn case never asked him at the scene if he had been drinking or where he had been before the crash. Either they were protecting him, or just moving it along.
Two days after the crash, Dunn denied any wrongdoing in a follow-up police interview and claimed he had used Benadryl after having had a late dinner downtown. The state police report indicates Dunn was consuming alcoholic beverages at a downtown bar until about 20 minutes before the crash.
Dunn also said he remained at St. Luke's Hospital until being discharged around 5 a.m. The state police report says Dunn "eloped" from the hospital after telling staff he needed to use a restroom.
From what we can tell, Massachusetts State Police treated Chief Lyons as any other OUI suspect would have been treated. New Bedford Police seemed to treat Dunn more favorably than most others would have been treated.
Here's to the state police for doing their job well and shame on the New Bedford officers who investigated Dunn's crash for failing miserably in doing theirs.
Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.