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.