Judge rejects guilty plea from State Police captain for driving violations; more charges may be filed
LYNN -- The arraignment of a Massachusetts State Police captain cited last month for traffic offenses was postponed this morning at the request of prosecutors who are seeking additional charges against him, including operating under the influence of alcohol.
Thomas McCarthy, 47, of Stoneham was poised to accept the penalties for a marked lane violation and failure to stop, but Essex Assistant District Attorney Susan Dolhun told Judge Albert Conlon that additional charges may be filed after a clerk’s hearing on Jan. 19.
O’Malley had tendered a guilty plea, but Conlon didn’t accept it, and instead continued the case until the hearing. Failure to stop is a criminal offense, punishable by a $100 fine. The marked lanes violation is a civil offense that also carries a maximum $100 fine.
McCarthy works out of Troop C in Central Massachusetts and serves as an evening shift commander. State police captains earn about $110,000 per year, plus overtime.
On Nov. 18, Saugus police responded to a woman’s home for an alarm sounding and reports of an argument. Police arrived to find the woman standing in the garage and McCarthy, in an unmarked Ford Crown Victoria police cruiser, driving away.
A short time later, a Saugus police officer came upon McCarthy’s vehicle, an unmarked State Police cruiser, after he saw it swerving in and out of his lane on Central Street near Main Street. Officer James M. Scott, in a report filed in court, said he recognized the car as the one that drove away from police at the woman’s home.
“While following the vehicle, I observed [it] cross over the center yellow line on numerous occasions,” Scott wrote in his report.
Scott turned on his emergency lights in an attempt to pull McCarthy over, but McCarthy allegedly continued driving before eventually stopping off Summer Street. As Scott approached the black Crown Victoria sedan, McCarthy, who was off duty and not in uniform, turned on his vehicle’s blue lights in the rear window.
The officer stated in his police report that he recognized McCarthy’s car from a previous incident that night, and he could smell alcohol on McCarthy’s breath. When the trooper asked McCarthy to turn off the engine, he allegedly replied, “Are you kidding me?”
When the officer asked again, McCarthy allegedly said, “You’ve got to be kidding me, I’m outta here,” and then drove away.
McCarthy drove past the Square One Mall and into a parking lot near the Sears department store, where he got out of his car. He was subsequently arrested, according to the report.
There was no mention in the police report of McCarthy undergoing a field sobriety test. Saugus police found one open bottle of Miller beer and two unopened bottles in the car.