BOSTON, Nov. 25, 2013—An off-duty State trooper is accused of operating under the influence of alcohol and illicit drugs when he collided with a marked State Police cruiser that in turn struck a civilian vehicle, Suffolk County District Attorney Daniel F. Conley said today.
SHAWN D’AMATO (D.O.B. 5/14/71) was arraigned in his bed at Massachusetts General Hospital on charges of operating under the influence of alcohol, operating under the influence of drugs, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, and failure to change lanes for an emergency vehicle. Assistant District Attorney Christopher Henry recommended that he be held on $2,000 cash bail and be ordered not to drive while the case is pending. Chelsea District Court Judge Benjamin Barnes released him on his own recognizance but imposed the no-driving order.
Just before 12:45 this morning, a State trooper in his marked cruiser was writing a citation for the 29-year-old driver of a Honda Accord for operating with a suspended driver’s license. Both their vehicles were parked in the breakdown lane of Route 1 southbound just prior to Route 16 in Revere.
At this time, D’Amato allegedly drove his Toyota Corolla into the left rear of the marked cruiser, activating the cruiser’s front airbag and forcing it forward to strike the rear end of the Corolla. D’Amato’s car struck the cruiser with such force that his Corolla’s airbags were deployed and his vehicle spun around and came to rest facing northbound against traffic.
The on-duty trooper called for assistance and checked on the condition of the driver who had struck him, later identified as D’Amato. D’Amato was unresponsive and his doors were locked, so the trooper gained access by breaking the window and laid the unconscious man on the road in the breakdown lane.
The driver of the Honda suffered only minor injuries, complaining of pain in his neck and back, for which he was transported to Massachusetts General Hospital. Additional State Police units took preliminary information from the on-duty trooper, who suffered facial injuries during the crash, and directed him to an ambulance for treatment from emergency medical technicians. He, too, was transported to Mass General. The civilian driver and the injured trooper have since been released from care.
Troopers then spoke with D’Amato, whose breath allegedly smelled of alcohol and whose speech was slurred. D’Amato allegedly seemed unable to say where he was coming from or where he was going when he crashed. When asked his name, he allegedly replied “Charlie,” and when asked for his last name, he allegedly offered an expletive.
D’Amato allegedly told emergency medical technicians that he had smoked crack cocaine within the past hour, a detail that EMTs relayed to State Police investigators along with their observations of apparent track marks on his arms, suggesting intravenous drug use.
The investigation into the incident is being led by Troop A of the Massachusetts State Police with the assistance of the State Police Crime Scene Services Section and the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section. State Police Internal Affairs will conduct its own investigation, as well.
D’Amato was transported to Mass General, as well, where he remained as of this evening. He was represented by attorney Daniel Moynihan and will return to court on Jan. 10.
All defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.