Drunk driver causes damage, injuries in Oak Bluffs

This is the fourth time the vehicle operator was arrested for drunk driving. 


Police arrested an Oak Bluffs man on drunk driving charges after the driver made a ruckus downtown, causing injury to multiple people and damaging a number of properties.

Witnesses describe a chaotic scene where the driver nearly ran over an elderly woman on a street meant for pedestrians.

Sixty-eight-year-old Oak Bluffs resident David Murphy was arrested Saturday afternoon in Oak Bluffs for charges of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol, operating to endanger, leaving the scene of property damage, and four counts of wanton property destruction. 

This is Murphy’s fourth offense for drunk driving, according to Oak Bluffs Police Chief Jonathan Searle. 

Searle said police were dispatched at 12:53 pm on Saturday to Montgomery Square at a Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association property after receiving a report that the driver of a red Dodge Challenger had been “speeding around the circle,” crashed into houses, and was attempting to hit pedestrians. By the time an officer arrived at the scene, the car was found next to a tree with its right back wheel up on a rock. Murphy was resistant to two bystanders that were trying to get him out of the vehicle, but he complied when an officer arrived. Murphy’s vehicle had Maryland license plates. 

“It was quite the scene, unfortunately,” Chief Searle said, pointing out that a gate, a few cottages, and several porches were damaged. 

Dorothy Wass, a Campgrounds resident who was attending a memorial service at the United Methodist Church of Martha’s Vineyard at the time of the incident, said the tumultuous events caught people’s attention. 

“All of a sudden we thought, ‘What in the world is going on?’” she said. 

Two people were injured during the incident, and were taken to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital. An unnamed woman reaggravated her knee after getting out of the way of the vehicle. Charles Maney, a Campgrounds resident who tried to stop the vehicle, was also hurt. He was hanging from the driver-side window during a part of the incident. 

“He intentionally put the car in gear into three porches,” Maney said, who got off the vehicle after the third porch was struck. Maney said he saw Murphy drive into the direction of Summercamp Hotel before the car stopped.

Maney called Murphy a “menace to society” who needed to be taken off the streets. Maney added that on top of the injuries, the incident forced him to miss work, and caused him “severe emotional distress.” 

Celene Maney, who made the 911 call, described the scene as “traumatic,” saying there were the sounds of screeching tires, people screaming, and people jumping out of the way of the vehicle. She said Murphy also “barrelled over” a barrier at Wesleyan Grove, a street meant for pedestrians, and an elderly woman was nearly hit by the car. 

“He had no concern for life at that point,” she said, adding that she can’t imagine what it would have been like if this incident took place in August, when children and tour groups are common in the Campgrounds.

Murphy was scheduled to be arraigned at Edgartown District Court on Monday.


  1. Wesleyan Grove should not be described as a street. It is more accurately described as a green space or park with pedestrian paths.
    It does not support vehicular traffic and in no way resembles a street.
    This is an important detail for readers to understand how violent this event was.

  2. Hopefully the DA follows through on prosecuting this guy or at least an appropriate plea deal. This should not be an island sweetheart deal .

  3. Once again “fourth offense”. What happened to the widely touted three and out? I take it Mr. Murphy and the legal system gained the sympathy of judges in prior cases? Mr. Murphy needs treatment for his alcoholism and penchant for driving while drunk before he kills someone.

  4. I thought a person’s license got pulled for good after *three* drunk-driving offenses? Why was this guy even behind the wheel — any wheel? Not to mention, it’s hard to keep alcoholism a secret. I hope this guy finds recovery at last, in a closely supervised environment.

  5. Please send a reporter to investigate and explain why someone with multiple dui offenses continues to drive. Were the other incidents on the island? As the vehicle been impounded?

    • Mr. Murray, point taken, but this man is a menace to us all. We need to stay clear of him (actually he needs to stay clear of us) and he needs to be encouraged to be treated for his alcoholism. The reporting of what happened both by the police blotter on FB as well as by this reporter seems fairly clear. Yes, let’s hope his “outing” doesn’t prejudice the person or persons who will judge this behavior.

  6. The bigger question is did he have a driver’s license. The listed charges against him do not include “driving without a license,” so can one assume he still had a valid driver’s license even after three previous OUI’s? If he did, shame on the local judicial system. It’s a miracle no one was killed considering how many pedestrians, tourists and kids visit the Campground.

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