Edgartown police issued a summons on Monday to Sean E. Law, 22, of the Bronx, New York, to appear in Edgartown District Court on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol. Police also cited Mr. Law for speeding, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and a marked lanes violations, following a serious accident that injured four people on the Fourth of July.
Mr. Law was behind the wheel of a speeding 2006 black Audi sedan that passed one car, sideswiped another and collided head on with a 2002 white Dodge Ram Tisbury taxi van on Meshacket Road shortly after 5 pm on the holiday, police said.
Oak Bluffs police chief Erik Blake was off duty and driving in an unmarked police vehicle on Meshacket Road, which winds behind the site of the old town dump near Morning Glory Farm, when Mr. Law passed him traveling west. He reported the dangerous situation by radio. Chief Blake later estimated the speed of the vehicle at 60 miles per hour.
“There was a vehicle traveling at excessive speed on Meshacket Road,” Edgartown Police Chief Tony Bettencourt said. “He actually passed the Oak Bluffs police chief in a ‘no pass’ zone, at an extremely high rate of speed.”
Chief Bettencourt said Mr. Law sideswiped a 2008 white Hummer 3 owned by Steven MacDonald, 50, of Westford, continued around the corner, and collided head on with the taxi near the old landfill.
When he arrived on the scene, Edgartown police officer William Oteri went first to the Audi, where he began treating the driver, as West Tisbury emergency medical technician Bruce Haynes treated a back seat passenger.
“The operator of the vehicle, Sean Law, was sitting sideways in the driver’s seat,” Officer Oteri wrote in his report. “Law had a large laceration to his left hand. he appeared to be dazed and confused, and I detected a strong odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from his person.”
Mr. Law was taken by ambulance to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. Officer Oteri later interviewed Mr. Law at the hospital, where he read him his Miranda rights.
“I then asked him if he knew how fast he was traveling,” Officer Oteri wrote in his report. “He stated, ‘I don’t know.’ I then asked him if he had been passing cars. He stated, ‘Yes, then we bumped into a vehicle and I lost it.’ I then asked him if he had been drinking today. He replied ‘Yes.’”
Dyllan Gibbs, 21, of New York City, one of the rear seat passengers in the Audi, was also taken to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, then transferred by MedFlight to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for treatment of severe head injuries. A hospital spokesman said Mr. Gibbs was released on July 6.
Another back seat passenger in the Audi, Alex Woodrid, 22, of South Orange, New Jersey, suffered chest, head, and neck injuries, and was treated at the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, according to the police report.
The taxi driver, Gueorgui Nikolov, 39, of Vineyard Haven, and his passenger suffered minor injuries.
Less than an hour after the Meshacket Road accident, police and EMS responded to a three-vehicle accident near the triangle business area on Edgartown–Vineyard Haven Road.
Witnesses told police William Bassett, 66, of Edgartown, cut in front of oncoming traffic. A jeep with six Island visitors from Maryland, New Jersey, and Massachusetts collided with Mr. Bassett’s pickup, which then spun out of control and struck a third vehicle. EMS treated several people at the scene, but none of the injuries was serious.
Mr. Bassett was arrested and cited for driving under the influence of alcohol and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.
Also Thursday, police were called to North Summer Street after an argument over a parking spot. According to police, Mark Juaquin, 27, of Dartmouth, reached inside a vehicle and punched both the driver and a passenger.
“They had obvious physical injuries to their faces,” Chief Bettencourt said. Mr. Juaquin fled on foot. Chilmark police officer Whitney Hyde, on duty to help with the parade, gave chase on foot and caught Mr. Juaquin on Dock Street. He will face charges of assault, and disorderly conduct.
Already stretched beyond the limits with extra security for the annual Fourth of July parade, Edgartown first responders called the holiday the busiest in memory.
Police officers from every Island town were on duty in Edgartown for the parade, as well as two extra ambulances from Oak Bluffs. Public safety officials eventually had to call in another ambulance from Oak Bluffs, and yet another from Tri-Town Ambulance.
“Everyone that was called in was utilized,” Chief Bettencourt said. “By having other towns bring in people, we were prepared for it. Sometimes you prepare and nothing happens. In this case, we used every officer from every other town.”
“We had eleven different medical calls over a 10-hour period,” said Edgartown ambulance coordinator Alex Schaefer. “We treated 24 patients.”