New Bedford City Councilor Crash Under Investigation by D.A.’s Office
The incident in which New Bedford Ward 3 City Councilor Hugh Dunn struck two other vehicles in a downtown crash last weekend is now under investigation by the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office.
Gregg Miliote, spokesperson for District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn III, confirmed to WBSM News that the D.A.’s Office has joined in the investigation.
“After speaking with the New Bedford Police and being provided with investigative materials, we have decided to assign a Massachusetts State Trooper to work with New Bedford Police to further investigate this case,” Miliote said.
Dunn was involved in a crash just after 1 a.m. on Saturday, May 1, in which he struck two parked vehicles and a curb with his 2015 Hyundai Genesis. Dunn moved his vehicle from the spot of the crash to the other side of the parking lot in which it occurred, leading witnesses to call into police that it was a hit-and-run incident.
When the incident report and motor vehicle crash report were released by the New Bedford Police Department on Tuesday, the reporting officer determined that there was no crime involved and that it was not a hit and run. He stated Dunn appeared “disoriented” and that at first, he could not remember his name.
The officer also stated that he did not observe any indication that Dunn had been drinking, but did not indicate in the report if he asked Dunn if he had been drinking. The officer determined a field sobriety test or breathalyzer was not warranted due to a lack of other signs of intoxication. Dunn agreed to receive medical attention for injuries to his neck and back suffered in the crash and was taken from the scene to St. Luke’s Hospital.
Dunn later told police he had a “long day” on Friday and had taken Benadryl for an allergy to his new dog. He stated he was leaving the parking lot after a late dinner when he struck the first vehicle, and that his recollection of the incident was “fuzzy.”
On Monday, Acting New Bedford Police Chief Paul Oliveira issued a statement noting that the way the incident was handled by the police department was under review, and that police were looking for more information from the public.
“As a result of an accident overnight Saturday involving Councilor Hugh Dunn, the NBPD has launched a review of the matter to ensure the incident was handled properly. If anyone has any information on the incident, please contact the NBPD,” Oliveira said.
Chief Oliveira issued another statement Friday afternoon, specifically mentioning that evidence in the incident is under investigation.
"The NBPD is now working in cooperation with the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office to assist in the review of the May 1 incident involving New Bedford Councilor Hugh Dunn. Our priority is to conduct a thorough review of all evidence," he said.
New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell first revealed the investigation in comments made to WJAR-TV on Thursday, when asked about the lack of a sobriety test and how the situation was handled.
“That’s a legitimate question to be raised, and the district attorney will make sure that investigation is run the ground,” Mitchell told WJAR. “It is concerning that there wasn’t a field sobriety test, so the police department is looking at exactly why that wasn’t done.”
Mitchell expanded upon the reason for the D.A.’s Office to step into the investigation in a statement to WBSM on Friday afternoon.
“The circumstances of last week’s motor vehicle incident involving Councilor Dunn are concerning,” Mitchell said. “It is appropriate that the Police Department referred the matter to the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office, and that the D.A., in turn, directed the Massachusetts State Police to review the matter, so that the public can be assured that it is being investigated impartially by an independent third party.”
>Dunn has not issued any kind of statement since the incident.