Massachusetts Drunk Driver Assaults Police And Faces Charges Of Attempted Murder

Sometimes it’s the opposite of a chase…!

Yesterday’s daily blog focused on police chases and attempts by defendants to get away from the scene of the alleged crime.

But in Weston, on Route 117 early Saturday morning, Joaovitor R, 18, of Watertown (hereinafter, the “Defendant”) is said to have driven right into two police officers.


Yesterday, the Defendant appeared before the court to answer various charges related to the event. Although pleading not guilty, he is being held pending a dangerousness hearing at Waltham District Court.

The event took place as Sgt. Keith Kasprzak and Officers Steve McShane and David Zampell were investigating an unrelated accident involving a pickup truck that hit a utility pole in the Conant Road area of Route 117 at 2:30 a.m. on Saturday.

As Officer Zampell was directing westbound traffic, a car approached him. It was allegedly the Defendant.

The car stopped within inches of the officer.

And then the driver hit the gas.

The car accelerated. Officer Zampell was thrown onto the hood and windshield and eventually back onto the road.

Witnessing the event, Sgt. Kasprzak tried to stop the vehicle on foot, Officer McShane, who was directing eastbound traffic with his back to the oncoming car, was then struck, but immediately rolled off and landed on his feet,

Sgt. Kasprzak tried to chase the Defendant in his cruiser as the vehicle continued westward toward Lincoln. Lincoln Police were notified, and the vehicle was finally stopped at the Lincoln town line.

The Defendant was arrested and charged with operating under the influence of liquor, attempted murder, two counts of assault and battery on a police officer, and two counts of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, according to a police spokesman.

Police Officers McShane and Zampell were transported to Newton-Wellesley Hospital. Officer McShane was able to return to duty immediately. Officer Zampell is on indefinite leave with non-life threatening injuries.

Samuel’s take:

Sometimes it seems as if Life reads my daily blog and then provides examples for me to use. If so, Life read yesterday’s blog.

It is hard to imagine what went through the Defendant’s mind when, upon finding law enforcement in front of his car, he “floored it”. Perhaps it was the fear of being found to be driving while intoxicated…although there is no evidence that said condition had even been suspected at the time. If that is the reason for the sudden acceleration, then it may be that we have a new president for the HIBICMTSW (“Hey, I’ll Bet I Can Make This Situation Worse”) Club.

If, indeed, the Defendant had been suspected to be drunk, then he, at worst, would have been arrested. Most likely, bail would not have been an issue and he very likely could have resolved the matter without a criminal conviction. Instead, he chose the route which risked (actually, in this case, guaranteed) additional charges which are much more serious. Attempted Murder-type charges, for example. Bail is now not only an issue…it is denied; he is being held without it.

Forgive me for being a naysayer, but I would think any negotiation leading to a resolution that does not include the word “guilty” in it is also unlikely. In fact, the Defendant is now facing felony charges and may very well be indicted, thereby moving the case up to Superior Court.

Yesterday, I wrote that if a driver, while attempting to flee, hit someone, he would be criminally responsible for the resulting injuries. Well, here you go. The Defendant is lucky that nobody actually died. Then, he would have been looking at murder charges and could dispense with the drama of the dangerousness hearing…he most likely would have been held. Period.

By the way, I do not know anything about the Defendant’s financial situation, but it most likely is about to change for the worse. He will be liable for the damages suffered by the injured officers. Further, insurance policies do not always cover intentional acts, such as the crimes described in this case. Even if the Defendant’s policy did cover it, however, the damages could very well exceed the policy which would leave him on the hook for the rest.

Another issue from yesterday’s blog is played out here as well. Police Departments communicate. The criminal justice system does not recognize the rules of the game of tag we played when we were kids. There is no “gool” (A safe spot within which a player cannot be tagged in the game for those deprived of such a childhood education) when trying to outrun the police. They have these neat little radios that very easily send word to other jurisdictions to join in the game.

In other words, you will be “it“.

As the Defendant has now learned, “It” is not a good thing to be. You end up having to go “There” (jail) for a period time often determined by how much worse you decided to make “That” (the situation).

Of course, all this assumes that driving drunk was the reason for the Defendant’s decision to treat real life like a violent video game. We do not know that this was the case. In fact, we presume that the Defendant is actually innocent.

Of course, we might assume otherwise…! As we know, most everybody else will.

So, once again, if you are faced with such a situation, or something remotely like it, where you fear you may be suspected of or charged with a crime, the solution is not to run down the police officer. Do not fight, do not flee, do not try to outwit the officer.

Comply quietly and then contact an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.

It could mean the difference between freedom and being out of the game for a very long time.

Samuel Goldberg is the senior criminal defense attorney at the firm of Altman & Altman, LLP. A former prosecutor in New York, he has worked as a Boston defense attorney over 18 years. He has published various articles regarding the practice of criminal law and frequently provides legal analysis on radio and television, appearing on outlets such as the Fox News Channel, Court TV, MSNBC and The BBC Network.

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