Probable cause found to charge off-duty officer with OUI

Probable cause found to charge off-duty officer with OUI

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The 2006 Honda CRV rolled at least once and sustained massive damage, police said. — File photo courtesy of Edgartown Poli

Russell Ventura is scheduled to appear in Edgartown District Court on March 19, to be arraigned on charges of operating under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and marked lanes violations, in connection with a single-car accident on January 16, that sent the off-duty West Tisbury police officer to the hospital and left his vehicle a complete wreck.

Falmouth clerk magistrate Norman Butler found probable cause to issue a criminal complaint following a clerk magistrate’s hearing held February 4 in the Dukes County courthouse in Edgartown. Mr. Butler was called in to avoid any appearance of a conflict of interest, clerk magistrate Liza Williamson said.

Mr. Ventura, an officer for the past four years, is suspended without pay pending disposition of the case, according to West Tisbury Police Chief Daniel Rossi.

Mr. Ventura was traveling up-Island on West Tisbury Road near Metcalf Drive about 7:40 pm when he left the road and struck a tree. Edgartown police arrived and found Mr. Ventura, 39, standing outside his badly damaged car, with blood on his mouth and ear, according to the police report.

“The vehicle had damage to all four sides, the roof, the undercarriage, and the rear driver’s side wheel was no longer attached,” officer William Bishop wrote in his report. Officer Bishop said that while speaking to Mr. Ventura, he could “detect an odor of alcoholic beverage coming from his mouth.”

Mr. Ventura was transported to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital where he refused a police request to submit to a chemical test and give a blood sample, according to police. Because Mr. Ventura was under medical care, police chose to summons him to face charges.



  1. Its guys like this that give police officers a bad name. I wonder how many OUI’s he has issued.

  2. Wow, he’s lucky to have walked away from that wreck…and we’re all lucky he didn’t hit someone.

  3. Let’s not all attack the driver for the simple fact that he’s an officer, he wasn’t on a call, or acting in any sort of official capacity, that said, he was a private citizen like any other.

    1. Like any other private citizen that puts lives at risk by driving under the influence.It’s As a citizen and a parent,the police are held to a higher standard even if they are off duty.

  4. The fact of the matter is that by profession he has a responsibility to the public whether or not he is on duty. Drinking and driving is absolutely the equivalent to a kindergarten teacher getting caught looking at child pornography. There is a standard to be upheld in private and personal lives – if you can’t adhere to the laws you enforce the alternative is to pay the price.