A Falmouth clerk magistrate has found probable cause to bring two criminal complaints against a West Tisbury police officer in connection with a mid-January car accident.
Russell R. Ventura, 39, was off duty when his vehicle hit a tree on Edgartown-West Tisbury Road on the night of Jan. 16.
Police charged Mr. Ventura with driving under the influence of alcohol and negligent operation of a motor vehicle, both criminal offenses. One count of marked lane violation, a civil motor vehicle infraction, was also brought against him.
The accident occurred on a foggy night at the intersection of Metcalf Drive and West Tisbury Road. At the scene, the responding officer noted that Mr. Ventura smelled of alcohol and had slurred speech. Mr. Ventura refused a blood test and eventually sought medical attention, according to the police report.
Falmouth clerk magistrate Norman Butler was asked to preside in Edgartown district court in order to avoid any appearance of impropriety, said Liza Williamson, clerk magistrate in Edgartown.
Arraignment is scheduled for Feb. 18.
Mr. Ventura has been placed on administrative leave without pay.
This story has been corrected from an earlier version that reported Mr. Ventura was on paid leave.