Chilmark motor vehicle accidents result in OUI arrests


By Chilmark standards, it was a busy three days: Emergency personnel responded to a single-car accident Friday afternoon and another on Monday. In each case, police arrested the driver for operating under the influence of alcohol.

Chilmark Police Chief Brian Cioffi called the mayhem unusual, and he said it is fortunate that there were no serious injuries, given that in both cases the vehicles crossed the oncoming lane of traffic.

On Friday afternoon, at 3:37 pm, officer Sean Slavin and Chief Cioffi responded to a one-car accident in front of the Chilmark Community Center on South Road, where a 2006 black Ford pickup truck was stuck in a stone wall. According to the police report, the operator, James McKeon of Edgartown, said he was texting on his phone and driving too fast as he traveled down-Island from Aquinnah through Chilmark.

Mr. McKeon was heading east when his vehicle grazed a telephone pole, then crossed the westbound traffic lane, drove over a VTA bus sign and crashed through a four-foot high stone wall. He then backed up over the Bank of Martha’s Vineyard lawn, hit a tree, and became stuck on the stone wall, police said.

Police said a portable breath test showed that Mr. McKeon’s blood-alcohol concentration was .202, more than twice the legal limit of .08. Police charged Mr. McKeon with operating under the influence of alcohol (second offense), texting while driving, failure to stay within marked lanes and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

In the second incident, this one on Monday, police and emergency personnel went to the scene of an accident at 1:30 pm near Hariph’s Creek Bridge, in response to a report of a one-car accident. Officer Jeff Day said that when he arrived he found a GMC work van resting on top of a stone wall on the eastbound side of State Road, where it had traveled from the opposite lane.

The operator, Nick Thorne of Aquinnah, said that when he came around the corner there was a pile of stones in the road and he was unable to stop in time, according to Officer Day’s report. Mr. Thorne appeared intoxicated, Officer Day said. A portable breath test showed his blood alcohol concentration at .185

He was transported to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital for treatment of his injuries and later arrested for operating under the influence of alcohol, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and marked lanes violation.