Motorist hits several vehicles in O.B.

Driver pulled unconscious from pickup with gas ‘pouring’ from undercarriage.

One of a handful of vehicles reportedly struck by a white pickup truck in Oak Bluffs Saturday evening. — Rob Gatchell

Updated Sept. 9

The operator of a white Ford pickup is facing multiple charges after allegedly striking three vehicles and other property while under the influence of both alcohol and drugs. 

Oak Bluffs Police charged Michael Rebello with operation of a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, operation of a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, three counts of leaving the scene of property damage, a marked lanes violation, and a seatbelt violation. Rebello pleaded not guilty in Edgartown District Court Tuesday morning. His attorney, Ryan Searle, waived a reading of the charges in the court. 

Following reports a white pickup struck several vehicles in downtown Oak Bluffs Saturday evening, Oak Bluffs Police Sgt. Daniel Cassidy found a white Ford pickup at the intersection of Circuit Avenue and Kennebec Avenue. Rebello was nearby. Medical personnel arrived shortly thereafter and attended to Rebello. A good Samaritan told police he pulled Rebello from the truck, and that Rebello was unconscious, a report states. The good Samaritan told police that while he was walking down Circuit Avenue, he saw Rebello’s pickup “jump the sidewalk, clip the Oak Bluffs Inn, cross back into the wrong lane of traffic, and roll to a stop [at] the base of Circuit Avenue,” a report states.

The good Samaritan then said he jumped in to help, and saw gas “pouring” from under the truck. 

A witness on the porch of the Oak Bluffs Inn corroborated much of the good Samaritan’s account. 

Officer Seth Harlow spoke to another witness who saw a pickup matching the description of Rebello’s Ford “drive through the stop sign at the intersection of Dukes County Avenue and Masonic Street,” a report states. The witness further stated the pickup “then cut across the grass, pushing the sign approximately 50 feet into the yard, before swerving back onto Masonic Street and striking a telephone pole.” 

Officer Harlow heard from another witness who also saw the pickup hit the pole, and then “back up off the pole and continue toward Circuit Avenue.”

Officer Harlow noted “a large puddle of gasoline” and part of a bumper believed to be from Rebello’s truck were at the base of the pole.

Rebello was later arrested at Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, and allegedly consented to have his blood drawn there, a report states. 

Sgt. Cassidy’s report notes “a quick look” in the pickup truck revealed the presence of “several nip bottles” and an open sandwich bag of what was described as marijuana.

“There was a thick trail of fresh gasoline inbound on both sides of the road leading to where Rebello’s vehicle came to a rest,” a report states. “The [Oak Bluffs Fire Department] treated the area saturated in gasoline and cleared all the debris.”

At a meeting Tuesday night, Oak Bluffs selectman Brian Packish took a moment to acknowledge the incident.

“I just want to take a moment to thank all of our police, fire, EMS first responders that attended the incident this weekend,” he said, “where we had a vehicle that made its way into town in a dangerous way. It actually happened to involve one of my family members, so it’s close to my heart, and I am grateful and beyond appreciative for all their work and how they put themselves on the line …”

Packish later elaborated that crash scenes are inherently dangerous, let alone one with leaking gasoline, and compounded by the risks first responders face during the pandemic. He wanted to acknowledge their service both to the community and at the scene Saturday night. 

Updated to include a comment made by selectman Brian Packish during the board’s meeting Tuesday night.