State trooper skips arraignment after leading police on chase
Boston.com reports that on November 18th, State Police Captain Thomas McCarthy was arrested after leading Saugus police officers on a motor vehicle chase.
Saugus police were responding to an alarm an reports of an argument at a woman’s home. When they arrived, they found the woman standing in her garage and Captain McCarthy driving away in an unmarked Ford Crown Victoria police cruiser.
Shortly after, Saugus police officer James M. Scott found McCarthy swerving in and out of a lane on Central Street and attempted to pull him over. McCarthy kept driving for about a block, but finally stopped. At this point, McCarthy turned on his flashers to signal that he was a police officer.
Officer Scott approached McCarthy’s vehicle. He wrote in his report that he could smell alcohol on McCarthy’s breath. He told McCarthy to shut off his vehicle and McCarthy allegedly responded by saying something like “Are you kidding me?”
Scott asked McCarthy to shut off his vehicle again and McCarthy allegedly said “You’ve got to be kidding me. I’m outta here.” At this point, he drove off.
McCarthy led Saugus police on a high speed chase, allegedly blowing through a stop sign, before finally stopping in the parking lot of Sears Automotive.
Scott and a second officer who has arrived as backup attempted to place McCarthy under arrest, but he resisted and they had to wrestle him to the ground to get him in handcuffs. After they arrested him, they searched his vehicle and found two unopened beer bottles, one empty beer bottle, and McCarthy’s firearm.
McCarthy was charged with failure to stop for a police officer and failure to stay in marked lanes by the Saugus police. He was also suspended indefinitely without pay from his job by the state police.
McCarthy was supposed to be arraigned at the Lynn District Court, but skipped out on the court hearing. His lawyer, Daniel W. O’Malley, told the court that McCarthy could not make it because he was at a “facility in Florida” which is likely a rehab facility of some sort. He filed a motion to exclude MJcCarthy from the arraignment, but a judge denied this motion. The judge did, however, agree to a motion to move the arraignment to December 2.
This story is pretty disturbing for a number of reasons. Obviously McCarthy’s behavior is extremely troubling in itself. However, the way the Saugus police dealt with him is also troubling. Although one officer indicated that he smelled alcohol on McCarthy’s breath and police found an empty bottle of beer in his car, they did not charge McCarthy with OUI. The police report for McCarthy’s arrest makes no mention of police conducting a field sobriety test, using a breathalyzer, or using any of the other methods police generally use to determine if a driver is drunk. This suggests that even though McCarthy led the police on a chase and resisted arrest, they were still willing to give him preferential treatment.
The Boston Herald reports that State Police filed a criminal complaint in the Lynn District Court seeking a probable cause hearing to charge McCarthy with OUI. They are also investigating whether or not Officer James Scott was pressured by his department to give McCarthy special treatment.
According to the Herald, McCarthy made $213,474 last year.
I’ll post an update on this story as soon as more information becomes available. In the meantime, you can check out this news video about the case from WFXT/Fox News 25: