Governor’s aide charged with drunk driving was in earlier accident

A top aide to Governor Deval Patrick who was arrested on drunk driving charges early Sunday in Brookline was involved in a car accident a few hours earlier in Boston, police confirmed today.

Ron Bell, senior adviser for community affairs, was in a two-car accident at the intersection of Stuart and Tremont streets at 12:28 a.m. Sunday, said Officer Eddy Chrispin of the Boston police. No one was injured and no one was cited in the crash, Chrispin said. Police also said there was no indication of alcohol consumption.

Officers assisted both parties in the exchange of paperwork, according to police. ‘‘There was no reason to arrest him,’’ Chrispin said of Bell.


The new development involving Bell came as Patrick said today that his staffer would remain on unpaid leave until the Brookline charges are resolved, and that his office is taking the matter seriously.

‘‘Ron Bell is a valued member of the staff and a friend,’’ he said during an exchange with reporters at the State House. ‘‘I think they are very serious charges. We are taking them seriously and, more to the point, he is taking them seriously.’’

A spokesman for the governor said his office was unaware of the Boston accident.

Bell, 48, of Milton, was allegedly driving drunk at about 3:25 a.m. in Brookline when he nearly struck a police cruiser, repeatedly said that he worked for the governor after being pulled over, and told an officer not to shoot him, according to a police report.

‘‘Don’t shoot me, don’t shoot me!’’ Bell said after he was pulled over in a Ford Flex sport utility vehicle on Boylston Street, near the intersection with Cypress Street, the report stated.

Bell’s attorney, Herbert S. Cohen of Boston, said tonight in a phone interview that he was aware of the report of the earlier accident, but had no information about it.


Brookline police Sergeant Robert Disario told Bell he was not going to shoot him and asked for his license and registration, the report stated. Bell responded by saying, ‘‘I work for Deval Patrick’’ and later said, ‘‘I work for Deval Patrick, if that helps,’’ according to police.

When asked today about those statements, Patrick would only say, ‘‘I’ve heard that allegation, [and] I’m not commenting on allegations.’’

Cohen said the context of those allegations is not yet clear.

‘‘If he was asked where he works … he would be justified in some response of that kind,’’ Cohen said. ‘‘The question is did he volunteer’’ the information.

Disario pulled Bell over after he had swerved his vehicle on Boylston Street and nearly struck the officer’s cruiser, according to the report.

Bell’s eyes were glassy and bloodshot, the reported said, and he repeatedly reached between his legs and underneath his seat, despite being told not to. Bell said he had dropped his false front tooth onto the floor and had been trying to retrieve it, according to police.

He also told officers that he had drunk two bottles of beer and consumed the last one an hour before being stopped, the report stated.

Bell allegedly failed three field sobriety tests and was placed under arrest.

Cohen said that Bell suffers from gout and that may have affected his performance on the tests. He also noted that police did not report a strong odor of alcohol coming from Bell’s vehicle. Police did detect a ‘‘moderate odor,’’ according to the report.


‘‘I also hope you are aware of the fact that he has [over 20] years of distinguished community service,’’ Cohen said. “It’s unfortunate that this has happened to him, but it’s never happened to him before, and he hasn’t been judged guilty.’’

At the police station, he said he was feeling ill and asked to go to a hospital, according to the report, and was taken to Brigham and Women’s Hospital. He had told police earlier that he had a heart condition, the report said.

At the hospital, Bell refused to have his blood drawn to measure his blood alcohol level and was told by police that his license would immediately be suspended, according to the report.

Bell is charged with operating under the influence of liquor, failure to drive within marked lanes, marked lanes violation, and speeding.

He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Monday in Brookline District Court and was released on personal recognizance. A spokesman for the Norfolk district attorney’s office said it is common for defendants to be released without bail when charged with their first drunk driving offense.

Bell is facing his first such charge. He is due back in court Nov. 21.

Travis Andersen can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @TAGlobe. Miriam Valverde can be reached at [email protected]

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