Boston police officer arraigned on drunken driving charges

An off-duty Boston police officer was allegedly drunk and speeding when his truck collided with another vehicle on New Year’s Day in Dorchester, leaving one man with a life-threatening brain injury, kidney and spleen lacerations, and a fractured pelvis, court records show.

The details were made public after the arraignment Friday of Domenic A. Columbo, a six-year veteran of the force, in Dorchester District Court on charges of operating under the influence of alcohol causing serious injury and negligence.

A not guilty plea was entered on his behalf. Prosecutors did not seek bail.

Columbo, 39, dressed in a dark-colored suit, left court without speaking to reporters. His lawyer also declined to comment.

Authorities allege that Columbo was intoxicated shortly before 3:30 a.m. when his Ford F-150 struck a Honda Accord sedan in the area of Columbia Road and Ceylon Street.

The Accord sustained “major damage” to the passenger-side front and rear doors, and a passenger in the car, Jose Teixeira, suffered injuries so severe that police called the Homicide Unit and Fatal Collision Investigative Team to the scene, the report said.

Teixeira, who turns 21 on Saturday, ultimately survived, but he was initially rushed to Boston Medical Center with a litany of critical injuries.

They included a “life threatening brain injury requiring surgery (craniectomy), laceration to his kidney and spleen requiring surgery, pelvis and rib fractures requiring surgery, and a fractured right femur requiring surgery,” the report said.

Teixeira’s condition Friday wasn’t known, and his family couldn’t be reached for comment.

The driver of the Accord, Jose Andrade Dossantos, 20, suffered a “possible fracture” to his clavicle, along with minor cuts and scrapes, according to the report. Attempts to reach Dossantos for comment were unsuccessful.

Columbo suffered a laceration to his forehead and scalp area, as well as a fractured vertebra in his neck, the report said.

A blood sample taken from Columbo at the hospital showed an ethanol serum level of 141 mg/dl, which is “over the legal limit of alcohol” for driving, police said. Dossantos’s sample showed no ethanol detected.

Columbo’s ethanol reading suggests a blood alcohol content of 0.11 or greater at the time of the crash, according to Suffolk District Attorney Daniel F. Conley’s office. The legal limit is .08.

Witnesses told investigators that Columbo’s truck was “definitely going fast” and “speeding really fast” at the time of the collision, the report said.

Columbo is currently on paid administrative leave, and his next court date is scheduled for March 23.

Asked for comment Friday, a Boston police spokesman referred a reporter to a prior statement from Commissioner William B. Evans.

“My officers are expected to abide by the same laws they are sworn to uphold,” Evans said. “No one is above the law, and those who break it will be held accountable. I am happy to hear that all those injured will recover, and I take this opportunity to remind everyone not to drink and drive.”

Authorities have said Columbo has no prior disciplinary history, and he received a department commendation in 2014 for helping to save the life of a stabbing victim.

Police said in a 2014 release announcing the commendation that Columbo and Officer Kevin Plunkett applied pressure to the unconscious victim’s leg wound and created a tourniquet with his belt to “combat the worsening situation.”

Columbo’s driving record provided by the Registry of Motor Vehicles shows two prior surchargeable accidents in Westwood in 1996 and Needham in 2003.

In addition to the accidents, Columbo was cited for speeding in 1998, 2000, and 2001, and for a seat belt violation in 2009, according to his record.

Trial in fatal boating collision moved to late April

Mongan attorney agrees to trial extension to give expert time to prepare report

A trial date was set Thursday for Marc Mongan, shown here in court Thursday. The Oregon man is charged in a 2016 fatal boating collision. The trial is set to begin in late April.

OREGON – The trial of an Oregon man charged in a 2016 fatal boating collision now is set to begin in late April.

An attorney for Marc Mongan, 47, Thursday agreed to an extension of a speedy trial demand to allow more time for a defense expert to compile a report.

Judge John Redington rescheduled the trial, originally set to begin Wednesday, for April 23 to May 3.

Mongan is charged with one count of aggravated driving under the influence of alcohol, which carries 3 to 7 years in prison, three counts of reckless homicide, each of which carries 2 to 5 years, and three counts of reckless conduct, each of which carries 1 to 3 years, in the death of Megan Wells, 31, of Rockford.

Wells died June 24, 2016, when a johnboat Mongan was operating on the Rock River struck her as it went over the back of the pontoon boat in which she was riding, throwing her overboard.

On Jan. 30, Redington granted a motion from David Neal, of the Illinois State’s Attorney’s Appellate Prosecutor’s office, to continue the case until he gets the defense expert’s report.

Mongan’s attorney, Russell Crull, told Redington on Thursday that his expert wants to see the pontoon boat, which is in the custody of the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, then will need 2 weeks to write the report.

Crull is working with the IDNR’s legal department to set a date that the boat can be examined, he said.

The defense’s standard demand for a speedy trial mandates the trial must begin by March 15, unless the defense agrees to an extension of that deadline, to which Crull agreed.

Redington ordered the extension and said the expert must examine the boat by March 2 and have the report turned into the court by March 15.

Neal asked for time to file motions once he has seen the expert’s report.

Redington set a final pretrial hearing for April 5.

Police chief cited for drunken driving

Shawnee Hills Police Chief Russell Baron was cited Tuesday night for operating a vehicle while intoxicated, but his attorney says that his off-duty client only had one beer and should not have been arrested.

A Delaware County Sheriff’s deputy stopped Baron, 34, of Delaware, at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday near the Dublin and Home roads intersections in Concord Township, said Tracy Whited, a spokeswoman for the sheriff’s office. Whited said the report from the incident was not available yet.

Attorney Will Nesbitt, who is representing Baron, said the off-duty chief was stopped because part of his license plate was obstructed. Nesbitt said that Baron admitted that he had consumed one beer and he submitted to a breath test. Baron recorded a blood-alcohol level of .04 percent, which is below the .08 percent blood-alcohol level specified by the law.

Nesbitt said he doesn’t know why Baron was cited and that his client will plead not guilty for his court appearance next Monday in Delaware Municipal Court.

Suspects switched seats before OUI arrests: APD

Early Friday morning, Anchorage Police say they arrested two people for driving drunk on the city’s east-side.

Around 2:15, officers with the Impaired Driving Enforcement Unit (IEDU) conducted a traffic stop on a pickup truck at the intersection of Duben Avenue and Melody Place. APD spokesman MJ Thim says the truck had just left the parking lot of Cabin Tavern on Muldoon.

After pulling over, officers reported watching motion inside the cab and determined the driver and passenger switched places.

When officers approached the truck, 24-year-old Kristina Huffman was in the driver’s seat, while 30-year-old Eric Alexander was in the passenger seat.

Police reported smelling a strong odor of alcohol coming from the vehicle, prompting officers to conduct field sobriety tests– which were subsequently failed by both suspects, Thim says.

Huffman and Alexander were each charged with operating under the influence and taken to the Anchorage Jail.

School board member faces misdemeanor charge

Steven Kenneth Anderson charged with second-offense drunken driving

CADILLAC — A longtime board member at Cadillac Area Public Schools is facing his second drunken driving charge after authorities said he was tested at more than twice the legal limit to drive.

Steven Kenneth Anderson, 59, of Cadillac, is again accused of drunken driving after Wexford County sheriff’s deputies on Sunday stopped him on Mitchell Street where he tested a blood-alcohol content higher than 0.17 percent, court records state. He was formally charged Monday in 84th District Court.

District officials are keeping quiet about the recent arrest. Most board members — including Anderson and President Mike Stebbins — declined to comment. Others — like Superintendent Jennifer Brown — didn’t return multiple phone calls on Tuesday.

“We’re a pretty solid group of people and I was sorry to read (about Anderson’s criminal charge) this morning because I have a high level of admiration for Steve,” said board Trustee Judy Coffey.

Coffey and her colleagues weren’t certain how the criminal charge could impact Anderson’s tenure on the board. The district’s website noted Anderson assumed the publicly elected position in 2002. His term isn’t set to end until 2020 but a criminal conviction could expedite his eventual departure.

Board bylaws noted a felony conviction would force a board member to immediately vacate their position. Anderson’s operating while intoxicated charge is a misdemeanor that carries a potential one-year jail sentence, if convicted. The bylaws don’t specifically address misdemeanor crimes.

Records state Anderson in 2011 — while serving on the board of education — was convicted of a similar charge of operating while impaired. His prior record didn’t appear to impact his role at the district but it could enhance a possible jail sentence if convicted for his latest charge.

Anderson — who also owns and operates the Cadillac Tire Center on U.S. 131 South — was released on a personal recognizance bond ahead of his next court hearing in February. County Prosecutor Jason Elmore has yet to provide police reports pending a Freedom of Information Act request.

Visit for continued coverage as the criminal case proceeds in district court.

Sheriff’s son gets jail after supplying gun used in homicide

Nikolas Abbott, 23, was sentenced Tuesday, Jan. 30, to one year in the Berrien County Jail by Berrien County Trial Court Judge Scott Schofield. Schofield also ordered Abbott to serve four years of probation.

Abbott pleaded guilty Nov. 22 to three felonies: accessory after the fact to a felony; operating while intoxicated causing serious body injury; and receiving and concealing a firearm.

Abbott is the son of Van Buren County Sheriff Daniel Abbott.

Police say Abbott supplied the gun used in the Feb. 3 homicide of Eddie “E.J.” Holland in Bangor. Police say Abbott sold the gun in Benton Harbor the day after the homicide. It was later recovered by police.

“Prior to our recovery, actually the day after the homicide, Nikolas Abbott decided to report that his gun has been stolen and knowing full well through our investigation that he was actually the one that took possession of the gun and then got rid of it and then reported it stolen,” Michigan State Police Det. Sgt. Brian DeWyse testified during a probable cause hearing on June 27.

Thurman Fletcher is serving at least nine years in prison for manslaughter and felony firearm in Holland’s death.

A witness at Fletcher’s March 16 preliminary examination, Matthew Eide, said he met Abbott for the first time at a party at a friend’s residence at Apple Tree Apartments in Bangor the night Holland was killed. Eide said he heard Holland was mad at Fletcher because Fletcher used counterfeit money to buy marijuana from him.

Eide said he first saw a handgun in the pocket of Abbott’s hoodie then saw Abbott pull out the gun and hand it to Thurman.

“He said, ‘Use it if you have to,'” Eide testified at Fletcher’s preliminary examination.

In the operating while intoxicated case, Abbott seriously injured a woman in a crash Nov. 25, 2016. Abbott told police he was looking at his cell phone just prior to the crash. He said he may have crossed over the center line on C.R. 681 in Van Buren County’s Arlington Township when he hit another car head-on, according to probable cause testimony. Abbott admitted to using Xanax, for which he did not have a prescription. The driver of the other car reported had wrist injuries, bruising and whiplash from the crash.

In exchange for Abbott’s pleas, felony charges of reckless driving causing serious impairment of a body function, felony firearm, false report of a felony, and a second count of receiving and concealing a firearm were dropped.

Passed out driver arrested for DWI in Mariners Harbor

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y.– Police arrested a 51-year-old man — found passed out behind the wheel Saturday afternoon near the entrance to the National Grid building in Mariners Harbor — and charged him with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI).

Jesus Moran, of Kyle Court in Arden Heights was charged with (DWI) in connection with the incident at 200 Gulf Avenue, according to a written statement from the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

Port Authority Police Captain Steven Yablonsky spotted a 2008 silver Nissan Altima with Pennsylvania plates blocking a section of road at about 2 p.m. Yablonsky approached Moran, who had his eyes closed, keys in the ignition and the car in park, the spokesman said.

When Moran awakened, he waved his arms as he attempted to exit the vehicle, and he smelled of alcohol and was unsteady on his feet, said the spokesman.

Police said Moran’s blood alcohol content was more than twice the legal limit.

Woman arrested after pursuit


Woman arrested after evading police

An area woman has been arrested and charges are pending after she allegedly attempted to evade police Saturday afternoon in Farmington.

Farmington Police Chief Rick Baker said at 4:30 p.m. Saturday dispatchers received a call about a possibly impaired driver in the area of Eagle Mart, located off Karsch Boulevard.

“When the officer arrived at the scene he saw a silver Ford Mustang matching the description given to dispatch,” Baker said. “The officer got out of her vehicle and attempted to make contact with the female who was driving.”

Baker said the woman made some kind of comment to the officer and then began to slowly pull back onto Karsch Boulevard.

“The officer got back into her car and while she was doing so, the driver of the Ford Mustang started driving eastbound,” said Baker. “She then began doing circles in the middle of Karsch Boulevard. The driver then drove in reverse in the eastbound lanes of Karsch.”

Baker said the driver of the Mustang spun the car around in a 180-degree turn and headed west on Karsch at a high rate of speed. He added she reportedly ran a stoplight at Karsch and Washington and continued westbound passing Potosi Street.

“Evidently it was a green light at Potosi and Karsch and then she made a left turn onto Walton Drive, running the red light,” Baker said. “She then continued south on Walton Drive and then made a right turn into the Walmart parking lot approaching the grocery side doors.”

The chief said she reportedly stopped the car, exited and took off running toward the center of the parking lot. A foot chase ensued and the officer were able to subdue her in the parking lot, placing her under arrest.

“She was taken to the St. Francois County Jail and will be charged with failing to obey a traffic control device two times, failure to drive in a single lane and driving while intoxicated (by) drugs,” Baker said. “She will also be charged with careless and imprudent driving, resisting arrest by fleeing, property damage in the second degree, failing to yield to an emergency vehicle, driving while suspended and assault on a law enforcement officer.”

The chief said the report was sent to the prosecutor for review of the charges. He added officers were scraped up and bruised from the scuffle while taking her into custody. Additionally, he said, at one point while she was driving she swerved in an attempt to hit a patrol car.

“When I first heard it I was thinking at 4 or 5 p.m. on Karsch Boulevard … Saturdays are less congested than during the week,” Baker said. “It could have been bad with people coming home from work. You just don’t see that every day.”

Her name is not being released at this time pending the filing of formal changes.

Virginia Senate Republicans kill bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana

Republicans on a Senate committee Monday killed a bill that would decriminalize small amounts of marijuana by changing the punishment from a criminal misdemeanor to a civil penalty.

The Virginia ACLU and a representative of the Northam administration both backed Senate Bill 111 from Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, and the bill was opposed by the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys.

The vote to defeat the bill was party line, with nine Republicans on the Senate Courts of Justice Committee voting to kill it and six Democrats voting for the bill. Republicans in the House had already killed a similar measure from Del. Steve Heretick, D-Portsmouth.


Advocates for marijuana reform had hoped that this would be a year for change following a Virginia State Crime Commission study, which found that police in Virginia made 133,256 arrests in the past 10 years for marijuana possession. Eighty-four percent of those were for a first offense.

But after advocating decriminalization, Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James City, flipped positions, saying he changed his mind because a decriminalization bill would not survive House committee.

The Senate courts committee unanimously passed Norment’s Senate Bill 954, a measure that allows someone charged with first-offense marijuana possession to have the charge expunged.

Norment’s bill now goes to the Senate Finance Committee. Virginia State Police would create a new database of people who were beneficiaries of the new law, which would be accessible to prosecutors and the court system.

Norment told the committee he was trying to be practical.

“There are always those enthusiasts who want to lambaste you for having no guts,” he said.

Claire Guthrie Gastañaga, executive director of the Virginia ACLU, said her group supports legalization of marijuana. She supported Ebbin’s bill and opposed Norment’s, calling it “the illusion of progress.”

She said marijuana arrests disproportionately affect blacks and that many people would not have the money to pay an expungement fee under Norment’s bill.

As far as costs of enforcing marijuana as a crime, she said, Norment’s bill “probably increases the cost by setting up new systems and data management systems that don’t currently exist.”

Jae K. Davenport, deputy secretary of public safety and homeland security under Gov. Ralph Northam, said the administration backs decriminalization and Ebbin’s bill.

David Ledbetter, Waynesboro commonwealth’s attorney, spoke on behalf of the prosecutors’ association. He said decriminalization would lead to more people driving while impaired by marijuana, would lead to increased use by adolescents and an increase of ingestion by toddlers.

“It’s an issue that isn’t going away,” said Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Rockingham. “We’re going to be talking about it for a long time.”

Senators voting for decriminalization of small amounts of marijuana: Creigh Deeds, D-Bath; John Edwards, D-Roanoke; Janet Howell, D-Fairfax; Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth; Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax City; and Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax.

Senators voting against decriminalization: Ben Chafin, R-Russell; Ryan McDougle, R-Hanover; Norment; Obenshain; Mark Peake, R-Lynchburg; Bryce Reeves, R-Spotsylvania; Bill Stanley, R-Franklin County; Richard Stuart, R-Stafford; and Glen Sturtevant, R-Richmond.

National booze group targets Utah governor

National booze group targets Utah governor and other ‘impaired’ older drivers to show ‘how silly’ Utah’s strict DUI law is

Drunken driving • Full-page ads to feature Herbert, lawmakers.

A national alcohol lobbying group continues its assault on Utah’s strict, new drunken-driving law, this time with a full-page newspaper advertisement suggesting that senior citizens — including Gov. Gary Herbert and some state lawmakers — are a bigger risk than consumers who have had a cocktail before getting behind the wheel.

The advertisement, paid for by the American Beverage Institute (ABI), asks in a satirical headline “Too Impaired to Drive?” and suggests that drivers 65 and older “are more impaired ANY TIME they drive” than consumers with a blood-alcohol content of 0.05.

Earlier this year, Utah lowered its blood-alcohol content limit for DUI from 0.08 percent to 0.05 percent, becoming the first state in the country to adopt the stricter standard.

“Our point is to illustrate how silly the law is,” Sarah Longwell, ABI’s managing director said in a telephone interview. “It’s absurd that you would keep people over 65 from driving and it’s absurd that a person who has had one drink and a low level of impairment would be put in jail.”

The advertisements, to be published Thursday in The Salt Lake Tribune, include photographs of the governor and 10 Utah lawmakers who are 65 and older.

“If Utah legislators believe drivers at .05 should go to jail, should those over 65 be arrested for DWO (Driving While Older)?” the ad asks.

The ABI said it used research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to make its claims.

Almost anything increases the risk of a car accident, even something as simple as listening to the radio, Longwell said. “In fact, a driver who is talking on a hands-free cellphone or who slept a several hours fewer than usual the night before is more impaired than a driver at the former DUI arrest level of .08.”

Utah needs to put traffic-safety threats into perspective and apply finite resources to problems backed up by logic, Longwell said. “That way we can actually make Utah’s roads safer.”

Because the law doesn’t take effect until Dec. 30, 2018, Longwell said the ABI will continue to push for full repeal. It also is hoping the issue, being lobbied actively by the National Transportation Safety Board, doesn’t get proposed in other states.

“We don’t want bad ideas to spread,” she said.

Rep. Norm Thurston, R-Provo, who sponsored HB155 and doesn’t see the law being repealed, is surprised by the continued push from the ABI.

“It’s not going to affect Utah policy,” he said, calling the advertising campaign ”pandering” and “fear mongering.”

“It’s an attempt to make people think that this is bad policy,” he said. “But the data is on our side that show it is a good policy.”

He said there is significant research that shows older drivers self regulate — they don’t drive at night, they don’t drive on highways or in bad weather. They also tend not to drink and drive.

“We know you can’t prevent people from getting older,” he said. “But you can prevent people from drinking and driving.”

The new ad is the latest strike in ABI’s war against the new state drunken-driving law.

Since the Utah law was passed and signed by the governor, the group has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars placing full-page ads in Idaho and Nevada newspapers as well as USA Today.

The group also launched a petition drive urging repeal of the law. To date more than 15,000 people have signed it.