New Bedford Ward 3 City Councilor Hugh Dunn is now facing criminal charges in connection with a May 1 traffic incident in which he played pinball with his vehicle and two other cars parked in a downtown parking lot in the wee hours of the morning.

Fall River District Court Magistrate John O'Neil released his decision on charges late Wednesday after a two-hour show cause hearing on Tuesday morning. The hearing featured damning testimony from one of the paramedics that took Dunn to St. Luke's hospital following the crash. The paramedic stated that Dunn smelled of alcohol and displayed other signs of being intoxicated.

A report from the attending staff at the hospital indicating that Dunn was intoxicated upon arrival and then he slipped out without telling anyone along with a report from an internal investigation of the investigation of the incident by New Bedford Police officers provided enough evidence for O'Neil to order the case to trial. The fact that District Attorney Thomas Quinn recommended that charges be filed contributed to O'Neil's decision as well.

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The show cause hearing did not determine Dunn's guilt or innocence, it simply determined that there is enough evidence on the table to proceed with a trial. Dunn is innocent of the charges until proven guilty by the state.

Dunn's behavior through this entire ordeal and his braggadocious attitude reportedly displayed in a conversation overheard by a New Bedford Light reporter at a downtown bar has been deplorable. Dunn needs to come to grips with the reality that he has some issues with which he must deal.

Councilor Dunn will appear for re-election on the ballot on November 2. He should withdraw his name and allow the voters of Ward 3 to begin the process of electing a new councilor. In fact, Dunn should resign immediately and find the help that he needs.

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 and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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