A West Tisbury woman suffered minor injuries and was charged with drunk driving after she reportedly drove through a stop sign on Atlantic Drive in Edgartown early Tuesday morning and flew over a sand dune before coming to rest in shallow waters in Herring Creek.
Edgartown police said Susan Austin, 54, may have been stranded in the pond for several hours before a passing motorist spotted her vehicle and called 911 for help.
Detective Craig Edwards said police received the emergency call around 6:20 a.m. Tuesday from a motorist who spotted a 2001 Jeep Cherokee lying upside down in the water. When officers arrived on the scene the motorist who placed the emergency call was standing with a woman who was kneeling in the marsh.
The Edgartown fire department and ambulance arrived and the woman was given medical attention and transported to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital.
Police believe Ms. Austin was traveling east on Atlantic Drive approaching Katama Road when she drove through the intersection and stop sign. Her vehicle then struck a sand dune and went airborne before coming to rest on its roof in about two feet of water.
Ms. Austin told police that she had been stranded for several hours, although it is unclear whether she was in her vehicle or in the water. It is also unknown how long, exactly, she was stranded.
“Because of the location of the accident, it would be difficult for a passing motorist to spot the accident,” Detective Edwards said.
Ms. Austin was charged with operating under the influence of alcohol, speeding, failure to obey a stop sign and marked lanes violation.
In other police news this week, a West Tisbury man was charged with drunk driving by Oak Bluffs police Tuesday evening after he crashed his vehicle into two guardrails along Sea View avenue in the Harthaven section of town.
Police said Nelson Tuck, 26, was driving north on Sea View avenue in a 2002 BMW M3 around 9:50 p.m. when he lost control and struck the guardrails on both sides of the roadway. The crash caused major front end damage to the vehicle and sheared off the passenger side front wheel.
Both Mr. Tuck and a female passenger were taken by ambulance to Martha’s Vineyard Hospital to be treated for minor injuries and later released.
Mr. Tuck told investigating officers he was driving 35 miles per hour when he downshifted to third gear, causing the rear of the vehicle to spin around. The portion of Sea View avenue where he was driving has a posted 25 mph speed limit.
Both Mr. Tuck and his passenger were wearing seat belts, and the air bags deployed upon impact, preventing more serious injuries, police said. Damage to the guard rail and distance from initial impact to point of final rest indicated that Mr. Tuck’s speed was above what he reported, according to investigating officer James Morse.
Police estimate Mr. Tuck was driving in excess of 50 miles per hour.
During their initial conversation with Mr. Tuck, police observed signs of alcohol use, including the odor of alcohol, bloodshot eyes and slurred speech. Upon his release from the hospital, Mr. Tuck was placed under arrest for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.
Mr. Tuck later submitted to a breathalyzer test at the Oak Bluffs state police barracks which revealed his blood alcohol level was .15, well above the legal limit. He was arraigned in Edgartown district court Wednesday morning on charges of operating under the influence, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and speeding.